News

    Contracts Awarded to Russian, Norwegian Firms on Last Day of Iraq Oil Auction

    Russia's Lukoil and Norway's Statoil won a joint contract to develop a major untapped oil field in southern Iraq, Saturday, on the second and final day of a two-day auction aimed at boosting Iraq's oil output. Representatives from dozens of foreign oil companies attended the auction, despite security risks.

    Multimedia

    Audio

    The Iraqi government expressed satisfaction with the outcome of major two-day oil auction, Saturday after awarding the prized West Qurna Phase Two oil field to both Russia's Lukoil and Norway's Statoil.

    The winning bid by the two companies proposed to give Iraq a fee of $1.15 per barrel of crude extracted from the field. The companies also pledged to reach an output of 1.8 million barrels per day.

    Friday, Iraq awarded contracts to exploit the Majnoon oil field to Royal Dutch Shell and Malaysia's Petronas, while granting another major contract to China's CNPC.

    Oil Minister Hussein al-Shahristani declared that the results of the auction were "a victory," adding that Iraq would not waste the money from the oil deals "on wars," as former president Saddam Hussein "used to [do]." The money, he emphasized, will "go to the Iraqi people."

    Shahristani also told Iraqi politicians that were opposed to the deals that commercial accords, such as the oil deals, were under the control of the government and did not need the approval of parliament.

    He says that the constitution is clear that international accords and treaties signed by Iraq and any foreign country must go through parliament for approval, but that commercial agreements don't need to be legally approved by parliament, according to the Iraqi constitution, no matter how large the contract, or how long the duration.

    Sunni opposition parties have criticized Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki for going ahead with the deals, complaining that he was "giving away Iraq's natural resources."

    Former oil minister Issam al-Jalabi insisted that the government was not following proper procedures and needs to submit the deals to parliament for approval.

    He says that the government cannot just pick and choose which oil laws it wishes to follow. He insists that a 1967 law stipulates that a bill must go through parliament for each and every accord. Otherwise, he says, the agreements will be considered null and void.

    Louis Hobeika, professor of economics at Lebanon's Notre Dame University, said that he's not sure if the Iraqi government should have gone ahead with the deals, given the unsettled political situation in the country.

    "We all know that the Iraqi government and Iraqi institutions are weak and any contracts given under these circumstances, especially long-term contracts, for me is doubtful, and therefore, all of these contracts, especially long term contracts, are bad for Iraq. It will not be in the Iraqi's interest, it will be in the foreign firm's interest," he explained.

    The oil deals will increase Iraq's production, according to government estimates, by over 4.7 million barrels per day in the coming years. Iraq now produces 2.5 million barrels per day. Many analysts, however, question if Iraq will be able to attain such lofty production levels.

    This forum has been closed.
    Comments
         
    There are no comments in this forum. Be first and add one

    Featured Videos

    Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
    Ivorian Chocolate Makers Promote Locally-made Chocolatei
    X
    July 29, 2016 4:02 PM
    Ivory Coast is the world's top producer of cocoa but hardly any of it is processed into chocolate there. Instead, the cocoa is sent abroad to chocolate makers in Europe and elsewhere. This is a general problem throughout Africa – massive exports of raw materials but few finished goods. As Emilie Iob reports from Abidjan, several Ivorian entrepreneurs are working to change that formula - 100 percent Ivorian chocolate bar at a time.
    Video

    Video Ivorian Chocolate Makers Promote Locally-made Chocolate

    Ivory Coast is the world's top producer of cocoa but hardly any of it is processed into chocolate there. Instead, the cocoa is sent abroad to chocolate makers in Europe and elsewhere. This is a general problem throughout Africa – massive exports of raw materials but few finished goods. As Emilie Iob reports from Abidjan, several Ivorian entrepreneurs are working to change that formula - 100 percent Ivorian chocolate bar at a time.
    Video

    Video Tesla Opens Battery-Producing Gigafactory

    Two years after starting to produce electric cars, U.S. car maker Tesla Motors has opened the first part of its huge battery manufacturing plant, which will eventually cover more than a square kilometer. Situated close to Reno, Nevada, the so-called Gigafactory will eventually produce more lithium-ion batteries than were made worldwide in 2013. VOA's George Putic reports.
    Video

    Video Polio-affected Afghan Student Fulfilling Her Dreams in America

    Afghanistan is one of only two countries in the world where children still get infected by polio. The other is Pakistan. Mahbooba Akhtarzada who is from Afghanistan, was disabled by polio, but has managed to overcome the obstacles caused by this crippling disease. VOA's Zheela Nasari caught up with Akhtarzada and brings us this report narrated by Bronwyn Benito.
    Video

    Video Hillary Clinton Promises to Build a 'Better Tomorrow'

    Democratic presidential candidate Hillary Clinton urged voters Thursday not to give in to the politics of fear. She vowed to unite the country and move it forward if elected in November. Clinton formally accepted the Democratic Party's nomination at its national convention in Philadelphia. VOA national correspondent Jim Malone has more.
    Video

    Video Trump Tones Down Praise for Russia

    Republican presidential candidate Donald Trump is toning down his compliments for Russia and Vladimir Putin as such rhetoric got him in trouble recently. After calling on Russia to find 30.000 missing emails from rival Hillary Clinton, Trump told reporters he doesn't know Putin and never called him a great leader, just one who's better than President Barack Obama. Putin has welcomed Trump's overtures, but, as Zlatica Hoke reports, ordinary Russians say they are not putting much faith in Trump.
    Video

    Video Uganda Unveils its First Solar-powered Bus

    A solar-powered bus described by its Ugandan makers as the first in Africa has made its public debut. Kiira Motors' electric bus, Kayoola, displayed recently at a stadium in Uganda's capital. From Kampala, Maurice Magorane filed this report narrated by Salem Solomon.
    Video

    Video Silicon Valley: More Than A Place, It's a Culture

    Silicon Valley is a technology powerhouse and a place that companies such as Google, Facebook and Apple call home. It is a region in northern California that stretches from San Francisco to San Jose. But, more than that, it's known for its startup culture. VOA's Elizabeth Lee went inside one company to find out what it's like to work in a startup.
    Video

    Video Immigrant Delegate Marvels at Democratic Process

    It’s been a bitter and divisive election season – but first time Indian-American delegate Dr. Shashi Gupta headed to the Democratic National Convention with a sense of hope. VOA’s Katherine Gypson followed this immigrant with the love of U.S. politics all the way to Philadelphia.
    Video

    Video Dutch Entrepreneurs Turn Rainwater Into Beer

    June has been recorded as one of the wettest months in more than a century in many parts of Europe. To a group of entrepreneurs in Amsterdam the rain came as a blessing, as they used the extra water to brew beer. Serginho Roosblad has more to the story.
    Video

    Video Commerce Thrives on US-Mexico Border

    At the Democratic Convention in Philadelphia this week, the party’s presumptive presidential nominee, Hillary Clinton, is expected to attack proposals made by her opponent, Republican presidential nominee Donald Trump, to build a wall along the U.S.-Mexico border. Last Friday, President Barack Obama hosted his Mexican counterpart, President Enrique Peña Nieto, to underscore the good relations between the two countries. VOA’s Greg Flakus reports from Tucson.
    Video

    Video Film Helps Save Ethiopian Children Thought to be Cursed

    'Omo Child' looks at effort of African man to stop killings of ‘mingi’ children
    Video

    Video London’s Financial Crown at Risk as Rivals Eye Brexit Opportunities

    By most measures, London rivals New York as the only true global financial center. But Britain’s vote to leave the European Union – so-called ‘Brexit’ – means the city could lose its right to sell services tariff-free across the bloc, risking its position as Europe’s financial headquarters. Already some banks have said they may shift operations to the mainland. Henry Ridgwell reports from London.

    Special Report

    Adrift The Invisible African Diaspora