Analysis: Iraq oil law (still) coming soon
Published: Sept. 4, 2007 at 12:05 PM
By BEN LANDO
UPI Energy Editor
DUBAI, United Arab Emirates, Sept. 4 (UPI) -- The question is simple on the third and final day of a major Iraqi energy conference where hundreds of hungry oil men and women broke bread with Iraq’s industry chiefs, politicians and technocrats: When will Baghdad set the ground rules for the international oil community’s long-awaited venture into the largest oil prize on Earth?
The answer, evenly nuanced, is clear: A version of the Iraq oil and natural gas law was agreed to by most of Iraq’s political leadership last week, and when Parliament resumes this week it will, possibly, debate the law and, perhaps, maybe vote on it soon.
“They have a deal on the government level. Once it comes to the Parliament, it is the Parliament who has to have the say,” Abdul-Hadi al-Hasani, deputy head of Parliament’s Energy Committee, said on the sidelines of the summit, though he hasn’t seen the latest version of the bill yet.
The KRG has signed its own oil deals, approved a regional oil law and is unlikely to wait too long for federal action before signing more.
Many oil officials refused to talk on the record about Iraqi prospects, but all admitted that getting a law in place, and possibly an improvement in security, is all they are waiting for.
“Iraq is the only country in the world with great reserves, it’s not developed,” said Orhan Duran, general manager of Genel Enerji, the Turkish company that joined with Canada’s Addax Petroleum to sign a production-sharing agreement with the KRG in May 200, and is now preparing a $1 billion development plan for their find. “On the other side, the quality of oil is very good. Plus a lot of exploration potential still is not touched.”
The oil law is needed, he said, “just to have a better picture.”