Aug 27 2012
By Nashoor Ali
Azzaman, August 27, 2012
Oil is Iraq’s sole hard cash earner and at the same time a bone of contention as the country’s disparate ethnic groups are vying for its control.
The clash over oil was about to result in military confrontation last month between Kurdish militias known as peshmerga and government troops.
The Kurds want to have a say in the oil riches within their autonomous region comprising the provinces of Dahouk, Arbil and Sulaimaniya. The government in Baghdad says natural resources, including oil, fall within the central government’s jurisdiction.
As part of efforts to bridge the differences between the two sides, the Higher Institute for Economic Reform, is calling on Iraqi scientists, academics and consultants to convene in a conference to discuss the challenges facing the country’s oil industry and its future.
“This wealth (oil) is part of the country’s sovereignty and national unity,” said a statement by the institute. “The conference will contribute to alleviating the challenges facing the oil industry and provide an opportunity for specialist to air their voices.”
The conference, scheduled for the end of September, will not be confined to specialists. Politicians and representatives of different Iraqi factions and ethnic minorities will represented, the statement said.
The major aim is to provide ideas on how this massive wealth – more than 115 billion barrels of proven oil reserves – can be used to boost the country’s national unity, lead to the emergence of democratic institutions, legislation regarding the exploitation and exploration of oil fields as well as the requirements and conditions for the promulgation of a new oil law, the statement added.
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