7th APRIL 2015 - Vol.XXXVIII No.018
Business News

Iraqi oil law set to pass with majority

DUBAI: Iraq's draft oil law should pass by a comfortable majority when parliament meets to discuss it after the end of its summer break in September, Iraqi Vice President Adel Abdul-Mahdi said.

"The oil law was completed in cabinet... the draft that was approved in cabinet is the one that will be presented to parliament," he said.

"The parliament remains now in recess and will return at the start of September when we will reaffirm that the law will be presented to the parliament."

The controversial federal oil law has been approved by the Iraqi government after months of talks but has yet to be debated by parliament, which must approve it if it is to pass into law.

The law, which decides who controls the world's third-largest oil reserves, is now in limbo while Iraq's parliament takes its summer break.

No date has been set to debate the law, which aims to provide a legal framework to attract foreign investment and sets up a new state oil firm to oversee the sector.

Washington has pushed Iraq for months to speed up its passage and that of other legislation, which it sees as pivotal to reconciling warring Iraqis, rebuilding Iraq's shattered economy and attracting foreign investment.

The draft oil law aims resolve the sharing in oil profits and most of the reserves are in the Kurdish north and south of the country.

But there has been fierce debate over the shares and how much control regional governments will have over the existing and undiscovered oil reserves, as well as the sorts of contracts that will be included.

Abdul-Mahdi said that some appendices to the law could be included to ensure the broadest possible political consensus, even though the law was expected to pass comfortably as it is.

"There are some parliamentary blocs that call for the addition of some appendices to this law. Fine, the committee is studying this and the appendices could be included in this law despite the fact that if the voting took place in parliament now... the law would be expected to pass with a comfortable majority," Abdul-Mahdi said.

"But in the interests of national consensus, it is seen that their addition would be more beneficial and get a higher level of consensus than the comfortable majority that would be expected if it was presented now."

click on image to view the digital edition