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. Iraq Oil Deals Signed Under Saddam Up For Review

Iraq has the world's second largest proven oil reserves, 112 billion barrels, after Saudi Arabia. The country's probable oil reserves are around 200 billion barrels.
by Staff Writers
Moscow (RIA Novosti) Aug 09, 2007
All contracts concluded by foreign oil companies with Saddam Hussein's regime and the Kurdistan authorities will be reviewed in line with Iraq's new legislation, the Iraqi oil minister said Wednesday. "A draft oil law stipulates that any contract concluded with the previous regime or the Kurdistan autonomy must be reviewed and brought in line with the new law," Hussain al-Shahristani said on arrival in Moscow.

He said all contracts must meet a number of conditions, primarily recognize Iraq's sovereignty and its right to control its own mineral resources.

"They also include environmental protection and training programs for Iraqi personnel working in the oil and gas sector. If all of these conditions are met, previously concluded contracts will stand," the minister said, adding that work on the new oil law will continue in September, after the parliamentary recess.

Asked what opportunities will be open to Russian companies once the law is adopted, the minister said: "Iraq is not imposing national quotas. The new law will lay the foundation for free and transparent competition."

Iraq has the world's second largest proven oil reserves, 112 billion barrels, after Saudi Arabia. The country's probable oil reserves are around 200 billion barrels.

earlier related report
Russia oil firms will get no privileges in Iraq -- minister
MOSCOW, August 8 (RIA Novosti) - Iraq's oil minister said on arriving in Moscow Wednesday that Russian crude producers will have to compete on equal terms with other companies in the oil-rich country.

Contracts for Russian companies, including LUKoil [RTS: LKOH] crude producer, signed under Saddam Hussein were frozen before the new government was formed in Iraq, the world's second oil-rich country after Saudi Arabia.

"There will be no privileges for any country or any company," Hussain al-Shahristani said.

LUKoil is seeking to return to the Iraqi oil sector to revive a 1997 production-sharing agreement it struck with the Iraqi Oil Ministry to develop the West Qurna-2 deposit in southern Iraq until 2020. The oil field has estimated reserves of 6 billion barrels, with investment expected at $4 billion.

Shortly before Saddam's fall in late 2002, Iraq said the West Qurna-2 deal had been terminated for failure to meet its terms. LUKoil continues to consider the contract valid.

"LUKoil will have to compete with other firms on equal terms and in accordance with new oil laws," Shahristani said.

Iraq's proven oil reserves make up 112 billion barrels, and according to some estimates, possible reserves could reach up to 200 billion barrels.

Source: RIA Novosti

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Russian Hostages Freed In Nigeria
Miami (UPI) Aug 08, 2007
Six Russian hostages held by militants in the Niger Delta were freed after more than two months amid gang violence in Port Harcourt that left at least 15 dead. The six Russians were taken hostage June 3 while working at an aluminum factory run by Russian firm UC RUSAL, the No. 1 producer of aluminum in the world. The captives were among the more than 200 people abducted so far this year by militants and gangs that operate in the oil-rich delta with relative impunity.

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