Erbil, July 4 (AKnews) – The establishment of a national oil company is unnecessary and could complicate the work of the oil ministry, said the Iraqi oil minister on Sunday.
A draft law to set up the Iraqi National Oil Company (INOC) was approved by the cabinet in 2009 but sidelined by ongoing political disputes and a subsequent change of government.
“If this law was passed, then I ask ‘What would it add to Iraq’s oil sector?’ I say nothing,” said Oil Minister Abdul-Kareem Luaibi in an address to the parliamentary oil and energy committee.
INOC –seen as pivotal in revitalizing Iraq’s struggling oil sector – was intended to revive a state-run firm set up in the 1960s that was incorporated into the Oil Ministry in 1987 under Saddam Hussein.
Amendments to the draft oil law outlining the duties of INOC are currently under review by the cabinet’s energy committee prior to its referral to parliament.
In defense of the bill, Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki’s chief energy advisor, Thamir Ghadhban, said INOC would play a vital role in developing the energy sector.
“The establishment of an independent National Oil Company is very essential to develop Iraq’s energy sector,” he said.
But Luaibi maintains that INOC’s crossover of functions with the Oil Ministry will only result in confusion.
“If we have two organizations with the job of marketing oil, then this will definitely create problems,” he warned.