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 Sharing petroleum resources only path to Iraqi unity and stability

 Source : KRG
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Sharing petroleum resources only path to Iraqi unity and stability 26.3.2007 

March 26, 2007

London, UK , – At a seminar in London on Thursday, experts on Iraq and the oil industry discussed Iraq’s draft federal oil and revenue sharing laws. One of the speakers, Dr Ashti Hawrami, the Kurdistan Regional Government’s (KRG) natural resources minister, said, “sharing Iraq’s oil and gas revenues fairly and transparently is the only path to a united and stable Iraq”.

Dr. Hawrami, who sits on the Iraqi committee that is drafting the federal oil and gas law, told participants that while the main points of the draft have been completed and agreed, some annexes and model contracts are still being decided. He said, “The law reiterates that the KRG is responsible for awarding contracts in its area. It also includes strong checks and balances to ensure that contracts follow guidelines.” 

Speakers at the seminar. Photo: KRG

The drafting committee in Baghdad decided that a federal oil and gas council will be established that can review newly signed contracts, to make sure that they meet guidelines. The council can ask an independent panel of experts to study the contracts and if the panel finds that a contract seriously deviates from the guidelines, the contract has to be modified.

Dr. Hawrami added, “Contradictory to what some reports have said, no one has told us Iraqis what to put in the law. Iraqis alone have been deciding it. The only pressure put on us has been to move it forward and complete it.”

Hamid Dhiya Jafar, an Iraqi national who is chairman and CEO of Crescent Petroleum and executive chairman of Dana Gas, said “Iraq’s oil sector needs massive investment because it has been stuck in a time warp since the 1970s and needs to modernise. When countries like India and Pakistan are privatising to modernise the industry, we need to recognise that Iraq has to do the same.

He added, “Iraq now has a unique opportunity to design the right regulatory framework.” Mr. Jafar also said that the government should encourage a healthy Iraqi private sector petroleum industry.

Peter Galbraith, Former U.S. State Department Official and United Nations director for the East Timorese transitional government, said that the Iraqi constitution gives regions such as Kurdistan considerable powers. He said, “In terms of its constitutional rights, the KRG is making major concessions in the draft federal oil law”.

About 140 analysts, journalists, diplomats and oil company representatives attended the seminar, which was chaired by KRG Spokesman Dr. Khaled Salih.

krg org


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