Lack of legal framework keeps oil investors out of Iraq

Lack of legal framework keeps oil investors out of Iraq


Dubai: Iraqi government officials and energy experts presented detailed plans for exploiting the wartorn country’s vast petroleum wealth but admitted that the absence of a law regulating the industry is a bigger obstacle than security to attracting foreign investment.

Government officials at the three-day “Iraq Oil, Gas, Petrochemicals and Electricity Summit" held in Dubai tempered their grandiose projects for exploiting the country’s massive oil reserves by admitting that the vital, but contentious, law still needed to be passed.

After months of acrimonious debate, a new draft oil law will be discussed in parliament in the coming weeks, which Iraqi government spokesman, Ali al-Dabbagh,hoped would be adopted by the end of the month.

“The majority of politicians are aware that we cannot go on without it," he said. “The oil law is the future of Iraq."

Despite being some of the largest in the world, Iraq’s oil reserves are also some of the least exploited with the worst infrastructure, something Iraq is hoping foreign investors can change.

Talks have been held with Shell, Texaco and Dow Chemical companies on possible investments in various proposed projects, said Fawzi al-Hariri, Iraq’s Minister of Industry and Minerals. He said the Saudi Basic Industries Corporation has also expressed interest.

Al-Hariri hoped that the negotiations would be concluded by the end of the year.