Labor - Iraq

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Over 70 firms register for Iraq oil contracts

Randy Fabi & Simon Webb, Reuters, February 18, 2008 More than 70
companies have registered to compete for oil extraction and service
contracts to help develop Iraq's oil reserves, the world's third
largest. The country, currently producing around 2.3 million barrels
per day, is seeking major foreign investment to tap into its massive
reserves and significantly boost output. Big oil firms such as Royal
Dutch Shell and BP have been positioning for years to gain access and
signed up for the register in advance of Monday's deadline. The oil
ministry will announce which companies it has accepted as qualified to
bid for future contracts in March. ... Over

Iraq oil law stalled, no end to impasse in sight

Ahmed Rasheed, Reuters, February 18, 2008 Baghdad - A law that could
shape Iraq's future by clearing the way for investment in its oil
fields is deadlocked by a battle for control of the reserves and no end
to the impasse is in sight, lawmakers and officials say. The bill is
also meant to share revenue equitably from the world's third largest
oil reserves, thus helping bridge the deep divides between Iraq's
Shi'ites, Sunni Arabs and Kurds. The one thing all sides agree on is
the law is vital to securing foreign investment to boost Iraq's oil
output and rebuild its shattered economy after five years of insurgency
and sectarian fighting that has killed tens of thousands of people. ... Iraq

The door to Iraq's oil opens

MK Bhadrakumar, Asia Times, February 16, 2008 The cynosure of Western
eyes at the meeting of the Organization of Petroleum Exporting
Countries, commonly known as OPEC, in Abu Dhabi, the United Arab
Emirates, last December 5 was an unexpected personality - Iraqi Oil
Minister Hussain al-Shahristani. But that wasn't a chance occurrence.
By the time OPEC gathered in Vienna six weeks later, it was beyond
doubt that Shahristani was on the way to becoming a celebrity in the
West. Shahristani is "a rare thing" in politics, to quote Toby Lodge,
the well-known scholar on Iraq at the International Institute of
Strategic Studies in London ... The

Top Iraq MP: Constitution fix then oil law

Ben Lando, United Press International, February 11, 2008 Washington -
Political disputes over Iraq's Constitution need to be resolved before
progress on the oil law, said the deputy head of the Parliament's
Energy Committee. "This will make the way to pass the law of oil and
gas," Abdul-Hadi al-Hasani told United Press International in a phone
interview from London. "It will be very easy to be passed because we
won't have any disagreements. Roadblocks now are not technical, they
are political." Iraq's Constitution was written vague enough to garner
enough support for passage in 2005 ... Top

Ex official cuts State Department on oil law

Ben Lando, United Press International, February 11, 2008 Washington -
Iraqis are "not invested" in the draft oil law and it's the US State
Department's fault, a former top department official said in a newly
leaked memo. Manuel Miranda, who recently left his post as director of
the Office of Legislative Statecraft in Baghdad, issued a scathing
critique of the US diplomatic corps' ability and capacity to engage and
assist Iraq's fledgling government. His memo to US Ambassador to Iraq
Ryan Crocker said it wasn't a question of the State Department's
capabilities or sense of duty ... Ex

Iraq oil dealings ongoing, met by protests

United Press International, February 5, 2008 London - Negotiations
between international oil companies and Iraq Oil Ministry officials
appear to be progressing, despite protests at a conference in London.
Iraq is in direct talks with the world's largest oil companies and is
prepping for a first round of bids to develop its oil fields. Iraq's
reserves, the third largest in the world, are producing about 2.3
million barrels per day, and Iraq Oil Minister Hussain al-Shahristani
said the direct talks will help boost that to 2.8 million bpd by the
end of the year. ... Iraq

Endgame for Iraqi Oil?

The Sovereignty Showdown in Iraq. Jack Miles, TomDispatch, October 26,
2007 The oil game in Iraq may be almost up. On September 29th, like a
landlord serving notice, the government of Iraq announced that the next
annual renewal of the United Nations Security Council mandate for a
multinational force in Iraq - the only legal basis for a continuation
of the American occupation - will be the last. That was, it seems, the
first shoe to fall. The second may be an announcement terminating the
little-noticed, but crucial companion Security Council mandate
governing the disposition of Iraq's oil revenues. ... Endgame

Oil flows in Basra power vacuum

Ben Lando, United Press International, August 16, 2007 Washington -
Political parties and their militias are fighting for power over the
Basra government, the oil sector it controls, and the oil and fuels
smuggling that bring in extra funds. The southern area, where much of
Iraq’s oil wealth is located and nearly all its oil exports are sent to
market, has been under the purview of British troops, who have allowed
various factions to become the power base and their armed outfits to
flourish. Now the British are leaving, and the intra-Shiite fighting
that bloodied the streets and complicated provincial politics will
explode. ... Oil

An in-depth view of Iraq’s oil sector

Oil Review Middle East, August 14, 2007 Conflict-ridden Iraq boasts
considerable potential and could become a major player in the global
energy arena. Oil multinationals are eager to rehabilitate and
modernise the hydrocarbons sector, the engine of economic growth in a
war-torn and still unstable country. But a dire security situation and
political instability have blocked much-needed foreign upstream
investments and technological transfers – a prerequisite for
production-capacity increases. Iraq was the first Middle Eastern
country to make commercial discoveries of crude oil, in Kurdistan on
October 15, 1927 – a decade before the discovery of deep wells in Saudi
Arabia and Kuwait. ... An

Reckless & Repressive Union-Busting by Iraqi Oil Minister

International Federation of Chemical, Energy, Mine & General
Workers' Unions, August 13, 2007 The ICEM is in strong support of
oilworkers’ trade unions in Iraq over the most recent denial of their
rights. Iraqi Oil Minister Hussein Sharistani, through his legal
adviser Laith abd al Hussein Shahir, issued a formal directive to the
country’s oil companies, ordering them not to deal with trade unions
and to exclude trade unionists from work committees. The directive, in
effect, is meant to silence Iraq’s oil unions from having an effect on
the proposed Hydrocarbon Law ... Reckless

Shahristani: Iraq oil unions not legit

Ben Lando, United Press International, July 25, 2007

Washington - Iraq's oil minister said Iraq's oil unions are not
legitimate and have no more standing in the debate over the oil law
than an ordinary citizen.

"There are no legal unions in Iraq," Hussein al-Shahristani said
Wednesday in response to a question about various factions' positions
on the controversial oil law. "Those people who call themselves
representatives of the oil workers have not been elected to the

Shahristani spoke to UPI by phone from Baghdad.

Intra-Kurdish fight over local oil law

United Press International, July 25, 2007 Irbil - One of two major
Iraqi Kurdish political blocks left a regional parliamentary session
over debate on the region's draft oil law. Members of the Patriotic
Union of Kurdistan left a session of the Kurdistan Regional
government's Parliament Tuesday and forced the session to adjourn, the
Voices of Iraq news agency reports. ... Intra-Kurdish

Oil law to positively impact Iraq's unity - Al Shahristani

Basil Adas, Gulf News, July 24, 2007 Baghdad - Iraqi Oil Minister
Hussain Al Shahristani, in special interview with Gulf News, said the
enactment of an oil and gas law, which was approved by the Iraqi
Cabinet and forwarded to the Parliament for endorsement, will be
important and significant because it is a "national achievement of
Iraq's people." The Iraqi oil minister told Gulf News in a telephonic
interview: "The 50-article Oil and Gas Law faces some observations,
[but] not disapproval. Thus the Iraqi Parliament members have the right
to discuss each article of it and make relevant amendments." ... Oil

Iraq’s new oil law

Inside Iraq, July 22, 2007 While the debate rages in the US for
American troops to be withdrawn from Iraq, an equally critical debate
which might reshape the country’s political and economic future is
heating up in Baghdad. A new Iraqi oil law which proposes to open the
country’s currently nationalised oil system to foreign corporate
control has split the Iraqi parliament into warring factions. The law
appears to favour the interests of foreign oil corporations over the
economic security and development of Iraq. Some critics say it will
harm Iraqs national sovereignty and territorial integrity. ... Iraq

Iraq parliament approves law on oil refineries

Reuters, July 24, 2007 Baghdad - Iraq’s parliament on Tuesday approved a draft law that opens the way for foreign companies to build and operate oil refineries in the country. According to the law, regional governments and provincial authorities will be able to deal individually with foreign companies, sign contracts and award licences for the construction of refineries. The Law on Investing and Refining Crude Oil is separate from a draft hydrocarbons law that will govern overall exploration and production and which is seen as crucial to bridging the deep sectarian divide in Iraq. The draft hydrocarbon law has been submitted to parliament but has yet to be debated by the full legislature. Iraqi television showed parliamentarians approving the refining law. The Iraqi Oil Ministry should supply crude oil to the investing companies according to export price of Iraqi crude, minus the cost of moving the oil to the nearest delivery point to the refinery and a one percent discount, the laws says.Investing companies have the right to set the prices of refined oil, the law says, and sell the refined oil both within Iraq and externally.Investing companies will be able to use Iraqi storage, port and pipeline facilities for export, according to contracts to be signed by the two parties.

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