Maliki criticises Iraq MPs over questioning British, Chinese oil deals

Prime PM Maliki attacked lawmakers for summoning the oil minister to discuss his distribution of the nation's oil wealth.

Maliki criticises Iraq MPs over questioning British, Chinese oil deals

Prime Minister Nuri al-Maliki attacked lawmakers on Tuesday for summoning the oil minister to discuss his distribution of the nation's oil wealth.

Iraq's government and lawmakers are divided over who has the right to authorise foreign oil deals, and parliamentarians are set to question Oil Minister Hussain al-Shahristani on Nov. 11.

The prime minister said that the parliamentarians' summoning of the oil minister might also undermine investor confidence.

"(The oil ministry) signed many important contracts, which will boost Iraq's production and exporting ability," the prime minister said in a statement.

"Unfortunately, the (bombs) coincide with the calls to question the oil minister ... This questioning gives a discouraging message to the companies willing to enter Iraq's oil market. It is in harmony with the saboteurs' message."

On Tuesday, British oil major BP Plc and China's CNPC inked Iraq's first major new oil deal since the 2003 U.S. invasion for the giant Rumaila oilfield.

Iraq is trying to attract investment, especially in its oil sector. While attacks have fallen in the last two years, fighter groups still stage spectacular strikes.

The nation of around 30 million people is on the verge of signing a raft of deals for its oilfields that could turn Iraq into the world's third largest producer.

Iran and Turkey led commercial interest at Baghdad's first international trade fair in more than six years which started at the weekend, at which the presence of 400 foreign firms showed the drop in violence has roused investors' interest.

To secure the site, security forces shut down roads and helicopters hovered overhead. Iran had 60 firms there, Turkey 44, France 40 and Brazil 21.

Reuters

Güncelleme Tarihi: 04 Kasım 2009, 10:55
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