Wednesday, February 28, 2007

BUSH VICTORY: final form of OIL law forced on Iraqis

Rather than directly forcing production sharing agreements on Iraqis which would give the bulk of the oil profits to oil corporations, they put oil company executives on the council that approves oil contracts.

That sounds a lot like how the Bush administration runs regulatory agencies here like when he considered Ken Lay for energy secretary and let him pick the director of the FERC, which then did nothing to stop Lay and other energy traders from bilking California out of about $10 billion.

Iraqis may notice this screwing a bit more than Americans noticed our version.

Apparently, the War on Terror means pissing people off enough that we never have a shortage of potential terrorists.

What Iraqi oil workers think of the deal

More Iraqi reaction


Big Oil in, stability out under new Iraqi law

By Antonia Juhasz and Raed Jarrar


A leaked copy of the proposed hydrocarbon law appeared on the Internet at the same time that it was introduced to the Iraqi Council of Ministers (cabinet). The law is expected to go to the Iraqi Council of Representatives within weeks. Yet the Internet version was the first look that most members of Iraq's Parliament had of the new law.


The exploration and production contracts give firms exclusive control of fields for up to 35 years, including contracts that guarantee profits for 25 years. A foreign company, if hired, is not required to partner with an Iraqi company or reinvest any of its money in the Iraqi economy. It's not obligated to hire Iraqi workers, train Iraqi workers or transfer technology.

The current law remains silent on the type of contracts that the Iraqi government can use. The law establishes a new Iraqi Federal Oil and Gas Council with ultimate decision-making authority over the types of contracts that will be employed. This council will include, among others, "executive managers from important related petroleum companies". Thus it is possible that foreign oil-company executives could sit on the council. It would be unprecedented for a sovereign country to have, for instance, an executive of ExxonMobil on the board of its key oil-and-gas decision-making body.

The law also does not appear to restrict foreign corporate executives from making decisions on their own contracts. Nor does there appear to be a "quorum" requirement. Thus if only five members of the Federal Oil and Gas Council met - one from ExxonMobil, Shell, ChevronTexaco and two Iraqis - the foreign company representatives would apparently be permitted to approve contacts for themselves.

Under the proposed law, the council has the ultimate power and authority to approve and rewrite any contract using whichever model it prefers if a "two-thirds majority of the members in attendance" agree. Early drafts of the bill, and the proposed model by the US, advocate very unfair, and unconventional for Iraq, models such as production sharing agreements (PSAs), which would set long-term contracts with unfair conditions that may lead to the loss of hundreds of billions of dollars of the Iraqi oil money as profits to foreign companies.

OIL MOTIVE for Iraq War resources

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1 comment:

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