AMMAN (AFP) – Some Iraqi oil experts and politicians are aghast over their government’s approval of a bill that many fear will deliver the country’s oil wealth to international firms on a platter.
In February, capping months of bitter wrangling, the Baghdad government approved a draft law that aims to distribute revenue from crude oil exports equitably across Iraq’s 18 provinces and open the sector to foreign investors.
The multi-party government of Prime Minister Nuri al-Maliki sees the legislation as a key plank in moves to reunite a country torn apart by sectarian violence, and hopes that parliament will ratify the bill in May.
But former Iraqi oil industry officials, experts and lawmakers gathered in Jordan to debate the bill have warned that the timing is wrong, and expressed strong concerns that
Iraq would lose control of its own “black gold.”