Iraq to review all Saddam-era oil contracts, minister tells Moscow

The new government in Baghdad is planning to revise all oil contracts made with Saddam Hussein's regime in an amendment to Iraq's oil law, Iraqi Oil Minister Hussein al-Shahristani said in Moscow on Thursday.

Iraq to review all Saddam-era oil contracts, minister tells Moscow
The new government in Baghdad is planning to revise all oil contracts made with Saddam Hussein's regime in an amendment to Iraq's oil law, Iraqi Oil Minister Hussein al-Shahristani said in Moscow on Thursday.

No single oil company would gain preference when it came to operations in Iraq, the Interfax news agency quoted the minister as saying.

This meant that Russia's second-biggest oil company, Lukoil, would have to compete on equal terms with other companies despite the experience Russia had gained in Iraq, he said.

The Iraqi parliament is due to pass the new oil legislation, which has been demanded by the United States, in autumn.

Lukoil had signed a contract until 2020 on exploiting the large Kurna-2 oil field in western Iraq with the former Iraqi leadership.

Experts estimate the resources of the field at nearly 6 billion barrels, with an estimated 4 billion dollars needed in investment.

At the end of 2002, just before the fall of Saddam's regime, the Iraqi side said the Western Kurna agreement had been cancelled because the Russian side had not fulfilled their part of the contract.

However, Lukoil continues to see the document as valid, and has repeatedly shown its intention to negotiate the project with the new Iraqi government.

Iraq is considered to have proven resources of around 15.3 billion tons (112 billion barrels) of oil, second only to Saudi Arabia.

Another 200 billion barrels of oil are presumed to lie in fields yet to be surveyed. US oil companies have already shown interest in contracts with Iraq.

DPA
Last Mod: 10 Ağustos 2007, 00:47
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