A Hydrocarbon Law which advocates a radical restructuring of Iraq’s oil industry was approved by the Iraqi cabinet in February. It was crafted in secret over an eight month period from July 2006, in consultation with 9 foreign oil companies, the US and UK governments, and the IMF. Iraqi Parliamentarians saw it for the first time this February. Iraqi civil society has had no involvement in the process – despite lobbying for inclusion.
If passed by parliament, the law will mark a milestone in Iraqi history – a shift of Iraq’s massive reserves from public to private hands. Private companies will develop and profit from Iraq’s oil for 15-30 year periods with virtually no possibility for the Iraqi state to renegotiate terms and conditions.
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