Amidst the daily violence suffered by Iraqis, oil companies and the US and UK governments are planning to secure long-term control over Iraqi oil. Accounting for 10% of the world total and 95% of government revenue, the stakes for oil companies and the Iraqi people are incredibly high.
A Hydrocarbon Law which advocates a radical restructuring of Iraq's oil industry was approved by the Iraqi cabinet this February. It was crafted in secret over an 8 month period from July 2006, in consultation with 9 foreign oil companies, the US and UK governments and the IMF. Iraqi Parliamentarians saw it for the first time this February. Iraqi civil society has had no involvement in the process, despite lobbying for inclusion. For the past four years, contractual mechanisms such as Production Sharing Agreements (PSAs) and Exploration Risk Contracts have been promoted by oil companies and occupation-installed oil ministers and advisers. Once signed, they are virtually unchangeable and will control development of Iraq's oil for decades. They will cost the Iraqi state billions in lost revenue.
This law surrenders Iraq's sovereignty and economic future to foreign interests. It has been crafted in secret, and pushed forward through war and occupation. No law should be passed, let alone contracts signed, while Iraq is subjected to a military occupation and foreign interference.
Hands Off Iraqi Oil
Hands Off Iraqi Oil is part of an international coalition of development, environmental, human rights and anti war groups campaigning against the 'rip off' of Iraq's resources by foreign companies. Sister campaigns are up and running in Italy and the US.
The campaign is also encouraging similar coalitions to develop in countries where oil companies are also pushing for contracts in Iraq such as Total in France, Lukoil in Russia, and the Chinese Petroleum Corporation in China.
The Campapign aims to:
- expose the role of the UK and other governments, international financial institutions and oil companies in shaping the future of Iraq's oil;
- support Iraqi civil society, including Iraqi trade unions, in opposing oil privatisation and in seeking alternatives to it;
- stop the signing of contracts under this law which rip off the Iraqi people.
For more information about the campaign visit www.HandsOffIraqiOil.org.
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Hands Off Iraqi Oil