Published online by Cambridge University Press: 05 August 2011
As discussed in Chapter 5, the full import of KRG oil and gas law (No. 22) article 54 cannot be accurately gauged without considering the limitations imposed on that provision by the overarching and superior provisions of the Iraqi Constitution. It is one thing to speculate about the significance of the article 54 references to “final[ity]” and “related to” or “in respect of,” and about the chances that the article's reach encompasses third-party contractual arrangements that assist the IOC in meeting its obligations with the KRG. It is entirely different, however, to begin to “wrap one's mind around” the exact scope of any KRG assertion of power under article 54 in light of the various limitations found in the terms of the Iraqi Constitution on all exercises of governmental power, whether at the central or subcentral level. The easiest way to conceptualize this entails recalling the article 54 claim to vest the Regional Council with the authority to review and alter all preexisting agreements related to PSCs entered into by the KRG prior to August 2007, and its pronouncement that authorizations and MOUs related to oil and gas entered in that period are deemed null and void. The obvious thrust of that article is to affect preexisting oil and gas legal arrangements in one way or another. Whether that objective is capable of unfettered effectuation, however, hinges on the presence of constitutional protections designed to preserve rights incident to contractual obligations.