Iraqi oil law likely to be passed in autumn

The Iraqi parliament is likely to pass the country's divisive US-backed oil law only following its return from the month-long summer recess which begins August 1, a number of parliamentarians said on Sunday.

Iraqi oil law likely to be passed in autumn
The Iraqi parliament is likely to pass the country's divisive US-backed oil law only following its return from the month-long summer recess which begins August 1, a number of parliamentarians said on Sunday.

Illustrating the chaotic nature of the debate surrounding the key legislation, lawmaker Jaber Khalifa of the Fadhila Party, who hold 15 seats in the Shiite alliance of Prime Minister Nuri al-Maliki, said: "The parliamentary Oil and Gas Committee has been officially given by the cabinet two different versions of the bill."

The law is a source of division as a majority of Kurdish and Shiite lawmakers want to see regional politicians play a more important role in the exploitation of oil resources. This is however rejected by many Sunnis, who fear that they will be left empty-handed due to the lack of oil fields in their regions.

Meanwhile nationalist politicians in the country's parliament oppose the granting of exploration and exploitation rights for decades to foreign firms.

Their opponents however contend that this is the only way to secure the foreign investment necessary for the modernisation of Iraq's ramshackle oil installations.

The US government has repeatedly insisted that the law be passed in an amended form in order to appease Sunni fears and thereby perhaps calm insurgency.

Iraq has the third largest oil reserves in the world. However, many of the existing oil fields have not been utilized since the 1970s.

The current oil reserves are estimated to be equivalent to 115 billion barrels. But local experts estimate it might cost at least 30 billion dollars to renovate and revitalize the oil construction and refinery facilities.

DPA

Güncelleme Tarihi: 22 Temmuz 2007, 18:30
YORUM EKLE