Iraq Oil Law

The Democrats are again considering introducing another Resolution for withdrawal from Iraq. To date all legislation calling for withdrawal includes approval by the Iraq parliament of an oil law as a major benchmark before withdrawal can begin. However, the media is not telling us about the contents of this law and most people are unaware of its significance. This law was essentially drafted in Washington and is meant to privatize the Iraq oil industry, and turn as much as 70% of the profits for up to thirty years over to foreign oil companies. In the past Iraq oil revenues paid for modern infrastructure, education, health care, and many other citizen benefits. Ask your congressional delegation how Iraqis are to rebuild their country if they lose access to their oil revenues and demand that they remove the benchmark for the oil law. This may allow the Iraq parliament to defeat the law and introduce one that will benefit their country. The oil law is around thirty pages and has forty articles. It may be found at . You may also go to for good background information. Here are a few of the main points: The Iraq National Oil Company would have exclusive control of just 17 of Iraq¹s 80 known oil fields, leaving two-thirds of known, and all of its yet undiscovered fields open to foreign control. This company will have representatives from the foreign oil companies on its board who will have a say in approving their own contracts. Iraq will not be able to control the levels ­ the limits of production, which means it cannot be part of OPEC anymore. The foreign companies would not have to invest earnings in the Iraq economy, partner with Iraq companies, hire Iraqi workers or share new technologies. . Saudi Arabia and Iran the world¹s number one and two oil exporters tightly control their industries through state owned companies as do most members of OPEC. They all only use foreign companies to carry out specified services under contract for a limited period of time and for a fixed fee. This system is currently in place in Iraq. However, under the oil law international oil companies could be offered Product Sharing Agreements, which would allow them to sign deals of up to thirty years to extract oil. PSAs allow a country to retain legal ownership but give a share of the profits to the international oil companies that invest in infrastructure and operation of the wells, pipelines and refineries. In Russia, where political upheaval was followed by rapid opening up of industry to the private sector in the 1990s, PSAs have cost the state billions of dollars. The law will also allow all of the regional and small provinces¹ authorities to deal with oil, instead of giving this final say to the central government thus opening the doors to splitting Iraq into three regions. Recently the oil workers in Iraq went on strike to protest the law. Faleh Abood Umara, General secretary of Iraq federation of Oil Workers and Hashmey Muhsin Hussein, President of the Electrical Workers of Iraq, the first woman to lead an Iraqi union are touring the U.S. until June 29 to bring attention to this outrageous law. Check www.uslaboragainstwar.org to see if they are coming to your area.
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