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.
Texas Town Residents Told to 'Just Leave' Ahead of Flood Threati
X
Greg Flakus
May 29, 2015 11:24 PM
Water from heavy rain in eastern and central Texas is now swelling rivers that flow into the Gulf of Mexico, threatening towns along their banks. VOA’s Greg Flakus visited the town of Wharton, southwest of Houston, where the Colorado River is close to cresting.
Video

Video Texas Town Residents Told to 'Just Leave' Ahead of Flood Threat

Water from heavy rain in eastern and central Texas is now swelling rivers that flow into the Gulf of Mexico, threatening towns along their banks. VOA’s Greg Flakus visited the town of Wharton, southwest of Houston, where the Colorado River is close to cresting.
Video

Video New York's One World Trade Center Observatory Opens to Public

From New Jersey to Long Island, from Northern suburbs to the Atlantic Ocean, with all of New York City in-between.  That view became available to the public Friday as the One World Trade Center Observatory opened in New York -- atop the replacement for the buildings destroyed in the September 11, 2001, attacks.  VOA’s Bernard Shusman reports.
Video

Video Seoul Sponsors Korean Unification Fair

With inter-Korean relations deteriorating over the North’s nuclear program, past military provocations and human rights abuses, many Koreans still hold out hope for eventual peaceful re-unification. VOA’s Brian Padden visited a “unification fair” held this week in Seoul, where border communities promoted the benefits of increased cooperation.
Video

Video Purple Door Coffeeshop: Changing Lives One Cup at a Time

For a quarter of his life, Kevin Persons lived on the street. Today, he is working behind the counter of an espresso bar, serving coffee and working to transition off the streets and into a home. Paul Vargas reports for VOA.
Video

Video Modular Robot Getting Closer to Reality

A robot being developed at Carnegie Mellon University has evolved into a multi-legged modular mechanical snake, able to move over rugged surfaces and explore the surroundings. Scientists say such machines could someday help in search and rescue operations. VOA’s George Putic reports.
Video

Video Shanghai Hosts Big Consumer Electronics Show

Electronic gadgets are a huge success in China, judging by the first Asian Consumer Electronics Show, held this week in Shanghai. Over the course of two days, more than 20,000 visitors watched, tested and played with useful and some less-useful electronic devices exhibited by about 200 manufacturers. VOA’s George Putic has more.
Video

Video Forced to Return Home, Afghan Refugees Face Increased Hardship

Undocumented refugees returning to Afghanistan from Pakistan have no jobs, no support system, and no home return to, and international aid agencies say they and the government are overwhelmed and under-resourced. Ayesha Tanzeem has more from Kabul.
Video

Video Britain Makes Controversial Move to Crack Down on Extremism

Britain is moving to tighten controls on extremist rhetoric, even when it does not incite violence or hatred -- a move that some are concerned might unduly restrict basic freedoms. It is an issue many countries are grappling with as extremist groups gain power in the Middle East, fueled in part by donations and fighters from the West. VOA’s Al Pessin reports from London.
Video

Video 3D Printer Makes Replica of Iconic Sports Car

Cars with parts made by 3D printers are already on the road, but engineers are still learning about this new technology. While testing the possibility of printing an entire car, researchers at the U.S. Department of Energy recently created an electric-powered replica of an iconic sports roadster. VOA’s George Putic has more.
Video

Video Al-Shabab Recruitment Drive Still on In Kenya

The al-Shabab militants that have long battled for control of Somalia also have recruited thousands of young people in Kenya, leaving many families disconsolate. Mohammed Yusuf recently visited the Kenyan town of Isiolo, and met with relatives of those recruited, as well as a many who have helped with the recruiting.
Video

Video A Small Oasis on Kabul's Outskirts Provides Relief From Security Tensions

When people in Kabul want to get away from the city and relax, many choose Qargha Lake, a small resort on the outskirts of Kabul. Ayesha Tanzeem visited and talked with people about the precious oasis.
Video

Video Kenyans Lament Losing Sons to al-Shabab

There is agony, fear and lost hope in the Kenyan town of Isiolo, a key target of a new al-Shabab recruitment drive. VOA's Mohammed Yusuf visits Isiolo to speak with families and at least one man who says he was a recruiter.
Video

Video Scientists Say Plankton More Important Than Previously Thought

Tiny ocean creatures called plankton are mostly thought of as food for whales and other large marine animals, but a four-year global study discovered, among other things, that plankton are a major source of oxygen on our planet. VOA’s George Putic reports.
Video

Video Kenya’s Capital Sees Rise in Shisha Parlors

In Kenya, the smoking of shisha, a type of flavored tobacco, is the latest craze. Patrons are flocking to shisha parlors to smoke and socialize. But the practice can be addictive and harmful, though many dabblers may not realize the dangers, according to a new review. Lenny Ruvaga has more on the story for VOA from Nairobi, Kenya.

VOA Blogs