Iraq May Approve Energy Law by Year End, Committee Chief Says

Iraq’s parliament may pass a new energy law by the end of this year, hoping to make it easier for the government to attract foreign investors, the chairman of the legislative body’s oil and energy committee said.

“We are studying two drafts, one from within the committee and another one from the government,” Adnan Al Janabi said. “We will come out with a new law from these two drafts, and we can pass the law by the end of the year.” He spoke today in an interview at the Iraq 2011: Future Energy conference organized by The Energy Exchange in Istanbul.

Passage of the law would end five years of delay due to political wrangling and help the government secure investment in oil and natural-gas projects. Iraq has the fifth-biggest gas reserves in the Middle East and the world’s fifth-largest crude oil deposits, according to data from BP Plc. It relies on sales of crude for most of its revenue, which it needs to rebuild its economy after decades of war and sanctions.

Iraq’s cabinet approved a draft energy law on Aug. 28. Al Janabi’s committee rejected the draft because it was incomplete and had numerous “shortcomings,” Qassim Mohammed Qassim, a lawmaker, said on Sept. 7. Passage of the law may resolve differences between the central government and the semi-autonomous Kurdistan Regional Government over the sharing of revenue from oil produced at Kurdish fields.

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