Thursday, September 13, 2007


Oil minister - Iraq to issue international oil contracts despite delay of oil law

(Iraq Directory) - Iraqi Oil Minister, Hussein Shahrastani, said on Saturday that Iraq will issue tenders for international oil companies to develop its current fields even if the long-awaited law to regulate its energy sector was postponed. Shahrastani said in an oil conference in Dubai, "Although we expect this new law for political reasons, if postponed, we will go forward and begin discussions with international oil companies, especially in the current fields to increase production levels."
He added "there is no legislative vacuum. There is a law prevails allow us to carry out any contract for the development of the fields. We will soon issue tenders, before the end of the year, for international oil companies to work with us to develop the current fields in addition to a major plan for gas."
Shahrastani said last month that Iraq will call for open competition, including about one third of the main fields in September as soon as the new federal oil law is issued. But now it seems that tenders will be issued whether the new law was issued or not.
The Iraqi government approved the draft law in July after months of talks, but so far it was not discussed in Parliament which resumed its sessions this month after the summer recess.
Shahrastani re-newed comments of other Iraqi officials that the law of oil should be approved "within a few weeks", despite the fact that many differences still exist on the details.
He said that the postponement of the bill will not delay plans for the development of the sector which provides more than 90% of the Iraqi government revenues, and which is in dire need of investment after a decade of sanctions and four years of violence since the invasion which was led by the United States in 2003.
Shahrastani said, "Iraq has an oil-law, and it has always been the prevailing law until the approval the new one issued. The Oil Ministry can sign any contracts for the development of its energy capacity and increase oil production ... There is a need for this for the reconstruction."

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