Azzam in English reports that Jaber Khaleefa of the Iraqi parliament's Oil and Gas Committee has said that a secret deal has been signed between the Kurdish Regional Government (KRG) and the Iraqi central government, presumably the Oil Ministry, on oil deals. This deal allows the Kurds "to extend their political autonomy over their oil riches." This deal reflects on the one side an inability to get an oil bill passed in the central parliament, while on the other hand there is not enough support in the parliament to block any deals being signed by the executive authorities of either government. So far the KRG has 17 such deals and the central government now has 35. Generally, the central government tends to sign with big major firms like Exxon Mobil, while the Kurds tend to sign with smaller minors, with the biggest fuss having been about their deal last year with Hunt Oil, owned by strong Bush backer, Ray Hunt, also a member of his Foreign Intelligence Oversight Board.
Regarding the central government deals, much of the focus in recent days has been on no-bid short term contracts that have been signed with five big majors, including Total of France, as well as such old Seven Sisters as Royal Dutch Shell and BP, in addition to Exxon Mobil and Chevron (the latter having swallowed up the other two, Gulf and Texaco). However, officially rules for longer term contracts are supposed to be set by an official law, but none has been passed, and for now it looks like none will be passed. What seems to be operative is this secret deal.