Washington advises oil giants to wait to invest in Iraq because of ambiguity in Iraqi laws

Posted: October 22, 2011 in Iraqi Dinar/Politics

20/10/2011 21:14

BAGHDAD – Bahaa Haddad

Although the available opportunity of transparency, she saw an international organization specialized consulting with Iraqi oil and strategies, that the draft oil law made by the parliamentarians, would create a council government jointly govern the process of decision-making on contracting with foreign oil companies, and even the entire strategy of Iraq’s oil almost, which could politicize the very process of reviewing all oil deals signed since 2003, but the report of Iraq’s oil, indicated that a law to establish a national oil company responsibilities and wide, and transmitting the Oil Ministry to regulatory institution as, but strong.

The report noted that the draft law of oil and the gas, which was presented for first reading, he was reduced, when he left the chamber most of the parliamentarians who support the Prime Minister.

He pointed out that the oil ministry has proposed oil law last, differs outwardly from the bill formally submitted by the 61 members of the members of Parliament, Dmenhm prominent leaders such as Chairman of the Commission on oil and energy Adnan al-Janabi, adding that the Council of Ministers ratified the Law of the ministry before being submitted to parliament, who said Janabi, he waits before presenting his project.

The report continued that in the absence of a new law governing the sector, Iraq’s oil, as called for in the Constitution of 2005, entered into the Kurdistan Regional Government and the central government combined, about 60 deal of oil and gas, and insists each party on its own interpretation of the Constitution and existing laws, and interpretations are often conflict with each other, to support the interests of a particular, and all of these deals has received criticism, claiming that it deals with results to either a bad state, or that it is legal as long as it does not get ratified by the Parliament or central government.

The report went on to the new law does not accept this policy of burning gas, it emphasizes the optimal use of associated natural gas, and regardless of the method is generally common in Iraq, but a burning aerosols.

The law applies specifically to “petroleum refining operations, and uses gas for industrial purposes, and storage of petroleum products, transport and distribution.”

But this law faces political hurdles, according to the report, as one of the biggest risks faced by the oil companies when signing contracts in Iraq since 2003, is still represented in the legal uncertainty, hence the United States continues to answer companies seeking to seeking the opinion, saying that he without the presence of the law is acceptable on a large scale, determined by the government institution has the right to enter into contracts, there is no legal guarantee that any contract will remain in force, in the midst of the ongoing political developments in the country.

According to the draft oil law, and was following the report, all contracts made prior to the enactment of this law, will be subject to review “by a committee consisting of Minister of Oil, and the Minister of the Kurdistan Regional Government, and Chairman of the Commission on oil and energy and natural resources in the parliament,” and so they can be sent their review to the Federal Council of the oil and gas that would be a newly to be a strong body of policy-making, are likely to accumulate alleys staff are appointed politically.

It is assumed that govern the work of the Special Committee of the consensus rule, although the masses of the three main itself is currently facing a conflict of views on the management of oil, as the law says, “If there are outstanding issues, so they can be forwarded to the heads of political blocs, the three main, for the purpose of a decision.”

The report notes that the law does not contain the specific lines, what can be contained in a model contract is accepted; This is a hot spot among national officials in the central government, and those who favor decentralization, only a set of criteria, including national sovereignty, and ownership of the ownership of Iraq’s oil resources, and identify higher return compared to the national economy, and plans and solutions that ensure the protection of the environment.

The Iraqi National Oil Company, which was founded during the nationalization year 1959 (in the era of the late President Abdel Karim Qassem), was resolved when Saddam seized power 20 years after that date, it has been granted several powers in the draft oil law that, since it is already the subject of controversial with the Oil Ministry, as will be responsible for oil pipelines, ports and export terminals, which are all producing fields now, and any “fields discovered and undiscovered given to it by the Council,” as will the company in competition with rounds of bidding with foreign companies in the “production and development and drilling operations within Iraq.”

The report notes that many of the responsibilities contained in the oil and gas law parliamentary currently situated within the framework of the responsibilities of the Ministry of Oil, which will contribute to reducing the powers of the current, and this means that the council would be “the Ministry of new oil”, as according to a draft law, this, the ministry will “propose policy, laws and plans of oil; and create checks and issue instructions and data for policy implementation, and oil laws and plans submitted to the Council for the purpose of ratification.”

Although the ministry will lose its effectiveness industry oil policy, but it will still enjoying its authorities, regulatory “control and supervision of oil operations in the light of the relevant law, and contract terms and international standards the adopted coordination with other relevant institutions, to ensure uniform implementation and application of oil policy in parts of Iraq all.”

But the report corrects reference to the positive side in this step, is that they involve the best practices in modern techniques of oil, in the development of oil and gas on the basis of each field, and the total, long-term planning for exploration and field development in the areas of the country.

The report also confirms that there are some articles of law, would reduce corruption, perhaps the most stringent is the obligation to publish “The receipts of revenue and payments in excess of one billion Iraqi dinars, and delivered to any party representing the state or the public sector, relating to any activity related to oil, in two local newspapers at least,” with the scrutiny of these receipts through annual reports, submitted to the Federal Council of the oil and gas, as well as providing quarterly budget reports for the purpose of reviewing mathematically.

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