Monday, April 30, 2007

The Proposed Iraqi Oil Law

Indymedia reports:
Iraq has the world’s second or third largest proven oil reserves. The proposed Iraqi law (translated pdf) would give Western oil companies control over Iraqi oil. It provides for “exploration risk contracts” allowing foreign companies control of oil exploration, development and production for up to 30 years. If the law is adopted as is, control of the Iraqi oil industry will shift from the public sector, where it’s been since the 1970s, into the hands of the multinational oil companies, especially British and American firms. Under the new law, Iraq will reportedly be breaking away from the normal procedure that is used by all major oil-producing countries, none of whom allow such foreign control. In Saudi Arabia, the country that has the world’s largest oil reserves, oil is fully owned and controlled by the national oil company.

The same is true for Kuwait. The United Arab Emirates and Iran allow some foreign investment but maintain national control.

Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki endorsed the draft law February 26, 2007, and it was approved by the Iraqi cabinet in March. The law is waiting for a vote in the Iraqi Parliament.