Posters at a gas station during a 2008 protest against foreign oil companies’ involvement in Iraq.
In an announcement that was one part election hackery and one part good domestic politics, the Iraqi prime minister has declared that his country will not sell the rights to any more of its oil fields to foreign companies, a move that signals an intent by Iraq to develop its own national oil industry.
The announcement comes only a month before a national election, but, politics aside, it does suggest that Iraq may be changing its stance toward privatization and the selling off of the country’s national resources. —JCL
Iraq has no further plans to use foreign firms to develop its oilfields beyond ones auctioned off last year, the country’s prime minister said on Saturday, ahead of a national election next month.
Analysts say that foreign companies may have accepted the tough terms in oilfield development contracts awarded in two rounds last year partly to secure an initial foothold in Iraq, with a view to possible access to other untapped reserves later.
Iraq has the world’s third-largest crude reserves and is the world’s 11th-biggest oil producer.