ERBIL, Iraq, April 22 (UPI) -- "Billions of dollars" generated from the oil and gas sector have benefited the citizens of the Kurdish region of Iraq, the Kurdish government said.
The semiautonomous Kurdistan Regional Government published data on revenue generated from 2007-13. It said its Ministry of Natural Resources created gross revenue of around $9.7 billion.
"[The ministry] has presided over the impressive growth of the oil and gas industry in the Region, generating billions of dollars that have benefitted each and every citizen of Kurdistan, and also those of the rest of Iraq," Minister of Natural Resources Ashti Hawrami said in a statement Monday.
The KRG and central government in Baghdad are at odds over who controls what aspects of the energy sector. The central government says unilateral activity in the Kurdish energy sector violates the nation's constitution.
KRG said revenues generated from the energy sector have been within limits outlined by a 2007 agreement with Baghdad.
"Thanks to the progressive energy policies pursued by the KRG since 2007, oil and gas have become a key source of our future social, economic and political strength," Hawrami said.
The ministry said most of the revenue was used to rebuild infrastructure and diversify the region's economy through agriculture and tourism.