The legislative battle for control over Iraq's oil is heating up and oil aid is playing a key role in the conflict. As noted in this article from Spiegel, the US is being accused of leaning on the IMF and the World Bank to "push Iraq into signing oil contracts fast" and Iraqi authorities have promised the IMF a draft petroleum law as a condition of IMF support.
The IMF is also being accused of using its role in managing debt cancellation as leverage to press for reforms in Iraq's oil sector.
According to Spiegel: "The IMF sets the conditions for Iraq's debt relief from the so-called Paris Club countries. Eighty percent of that debt has been wiped clean, and the final 20 percent depends on certain economic reforms. With the final reduction, Iraq's debt would come to 33 percent of its GDP -- but if the reforms are not made, debt would climb to 57 percent of GDP..."
The Iraqi Labor Union Leadership has issued a statement arguing that: "The Iraqi people refuse to allow the future of their oil to be decided behind closed doors," and that "the occupier seeks and wishes to secure themselves energy resources at a time when the Iraqi people are seeking to determine their own future while still under conditions of occupation."
Council on Foreign Relations - Iraq and Oil: Revenue-Sharing Among Regions
According to a recent study by the Global Policy Forum, sixty out of Iraq's eighty known oil fields may be explored under PSAs, handing at least 64 percent of Iraq's known oil reserves over to foreign investors.
Greg Palast - Why Saddam Had to Go
"Control is what it's all about," one oilman told me. "It's not about getting the oil, it's about controlling oil's price."
Thursday, December 14, 2006
Iraqi trade unions attack plans for foreign company control of oil
At a meeting in Amman, Jordan, leaders of Iraq's five trade union federations - between them representing hundreds of thousands of workers - called for a fundamental rethink of the forthcoming oil law, which is designed to allow foreign investment in the oil sector.