Thursday, April 12, 2007


Changes to draft oil law discussed

(BI-ME) - Experts specialised in the oil sector and academics confirmed, at a symposium held in the city of Amarah in Southern Iraq, that the bill of oil and gas which is currently being discussed by the Parliament for approval “needs a review and adjustments” that are considered “essential”. They pointed out that there is a need “to ensure that the controversial draft law, will include compensations to the governorates producing oil and gas, with Missan Governate (bordering Iran) at the top, for the environmental damage caused by oil and gas exploration, and for agricultural land use in oil production”.
The symposium came out with other recommendations demanding not to work by the sharing-production contracts and stick to the risk and service contracts only on condition that any contract cannot be carried out only after gaining the consent of the oil and gas Federal Council. The seminar also proposed adding supplement 3 to supplement 2, and make it from the jurisdictions of the National Oil Company exclusively. Also, the contracts with oil companies must ensure the implementation of oil investment projects and give priority to extraction and production from the border fields, especially the ones common with the neighboring countries, giving priority to contracts that ensure marketing. Oil expert, Jassim Raheem Al-Ithari, said that “the law should be presented for broad discussion before it is approved”, noting that “articles 111 and 112 of the Constitution did not refer to the other national wealth other than oil and gas. Also the constitutional articles especially article 112, did not refer to the exploited fields that require resolving the controversy about them”.
The symposium recommended the adoption of the Amman symposium recommendations held recently on the new law. The legal expert in the Iraqi Oil Ministry, Jabbar Alsaidi, pointed out to “the importance of enhancing an Iraqi oil law, re-establishing the National Oil Company and to amend articles 111 and 112 of the Constitution, to pave the way for some of the parties to sign contracts without referring to Baghdad.”
He explained that the Cabinet “authorised” some bodies described by “regional” to negotiate and sign contracts just like the Ministry of Oil and the National Oil Company. The symposium stressed “the need for the parliament to ratify all contracts and the nomination of a supreme body to resolve the arising disputes“, suggesting “their settlement through the Federal Court”.

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