Iraq: oil industry protests private service contracts

By the end of June, Iraqi Oil Minister Hussain Shahristani is scheduled to award service contracts to foreign oil companies to develop six of the country’s largest oil-fields over the next 20 to 25 years. But senior figures within the Iraqi oil industry have denounced the deal. Fayad al-Nema, director of the South Oil Company, said: “The service contracts will put the Iraqi economy in chains and shackle its independence for the next 20 years. They squander Iraq’s revenues.” Nema is reported to have since been fired because of his opposition to the contracts, which he says is shared by many other officials in Iraq’s state-owned oil industry. (The Independent, June 18)

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