It's Still About The Oilgo to original
January 19, 2007
Antonia Juhasz, a visiting scholar at the Institute for Policy Studies, is the author of The Bush Agenda: Invading the World, One Economy at a Time (HarperCollins, 2006). She is also contributing author, with John Perkins and others, to A Game as Old as Empire (Berrett-Koehler, February 2007).
For more than four years, the Bush administration and its oil company cohorts have worked toward the passage of a new oil law for Iraq that would turn its nationalized oil system over to private foreign corporate control. On Thursday, January 18, this dream came one step closer to reality when an Iraqi negotiating committee of "national and regional leaders" approved a new hydrocarbon law. The committee chair, Deputy Prime Minister Barham Salih, told Reuters that the draft will go to the Iraqi cabinet next week and, if approved, to the parliament immediately thereafter.
The good news is that the Production Sharing Agreements (PSAs) so hotly desired by the Bush administration and the world's oil companies that appeared in earlier drafts of the law have apparently been removed. The PSAs gave private companies (including foreign ones) control of Iraq's oil production and 70 percent of the profits, specified that up to two thirds of Iraq's known oil reserves would be developed by private companies and locked the government into 30-year contracts.
Unfortunately, the bad news still outweighs the good.
First, the committee has debated the new law in near total secrecy: almost no one—both outside of and within the Iraqi government, including the parliament—has seen it...
19 January 2007
Still About Oil in Iraq
© Martin Rowson