NewEnergyNews: IRAQ OIL LAW: UPDATE

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    Thursday, May 31, 2007

    IRAQ OIL LAW: UPDATE

    A benchmark or lack thereof.

    Iraq Oil Talks Ongoing, No Progress
    May 25, 2007 (UPI)
    and
    Former Oil Minister: Iraq Law Weeks Away
    May30, 2007 (UPI)
    Why we fight? (click to enlarge)
    WHO
    Iraqi negotiators: Ashti Hawrami, energy minister, Kurdistan Regional Government (KRG); Ibrahim Bahr al-Ulum, former and potential future oil minister.

    WHAT
    Negotiations over the laws governing Iraqi oil & gas resource and revenue sharing between interested factions has reached no conclusions. One insider says legislation is two months away.

    WHEN
    - This report made May 25; negotiations ongoing. There is an “end of May” deadline that is unlikely to be met.
    - Bahr al-Ulum’s statement was May 30.

    WHERE
    Negotiations ongoing in Baghdad.

    WHY
    - The main contentions:
    1. The KRG wants distributed resources, giving them control over the northern oil regions, and distributed revenues paid directly to them
    2. Sunni and Shia groups favor more centralization through the Iraq National Oil Company (INOC)
    3. Unions threated a strike if multinational oil companies have access/ownership but investment from the multinationals may be necessary to revive the industry.
    - Production remains at 2 million barrels/day, despite 115 billion barrel reserves and capacity of 6 million barrels/day. Iraq’s 1.6 million barrel/day exports = 93% of Iraqi budget.
    - US leaders are pressuring the negotiators to make a law; many contend the pressure is toward including the multinationals in the deal. The negotiators expert in oil law want to resist the pressure.
    - A previously scheduled summit between negotiators and investors in Dubai was cancelled.
    - Bahr al-Ulum, oil minister September 2003 to June 2004 and May to December 2005, foresees grounds for compromise and resolution. Bahr al-Ulum is affiliated with the Fadhila Party, which is opposed to Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki's government. He would replace current oil minister Hussein al-Shahristani.
    She is losing.
    QUOTES
    - Hawrami: "Nothing to report yet, no progress, we are still in Baghdad…and have lined up more meetings to see if the remaining issue can be resolved."
    - Bahr al-Ulum: “[The new legislation will reconstitute the Iraq National Oil Company] which can regulate the oil and gas sectors which suffer from lack of coordination between several decision maker and administrative units."

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