Iraqis Assume Control Of Oil Industry

Washington Times — Iraqis Assume Control Of Oil Industry

Iraqi officials said yesterday that the interim government has assumed full control of the country’s oil industry before the June 30 turnover of sovereignty from the U.S.-led Coalition Provisional Authority.

“Today, the most important natural resource has been returned to Iraqis to serve all Iraqis,” Prime Minister Iyad Allawi said. “I’m pleased to announce that full sovereignty and full control on oil industry has been handed over to the oil ministry today and to the new Iraqi government as of today.”

The announcement came as Mr. Allawi and Oil Minister Thamir Abbas Ghadban toured the al-Doura oil refinery in southern Baghdad.

“We are totally now in control, there are no more advisers,” Mr. Ghadban said. “We are running the show, the oil policies will be implemented 100 percent by Iraqis.”

Iraq has the world’s second largest oil reserves after Saudi Arabia, with more than 110 billion barrels of crude oil and about 100,000 trillion cubic meters of natural gas.

Mr. Allawi said the turnover of the oil ministry before June 30 reflects “our full confidence in the oil minister. It’s evidence that oil ministry has worked perfectly.”

Referring to the former regime of Saddam Hussein, Mr. Allawi said that “in the past, Iraqi oil was used in building palaces, buying weapons to achieve one person’s goals.”

This is obviously welcome news. The more control Iraqis can take of their own affairs–especially if the fact is heralded and contrasted with the situation under Saddam–the more successful the mission will be.

James Joyner
About James Joyner
James Joyner is Professor and Department Head of Security Studies at Marine Corps University's Command and Staff College and a nonresident senior fellow at the Scowcroft Center for Strategy and Security at the Atlantic Council. He's a former Army officer and Desert Storm vet. Views expressed here are his own. Follow James on Twitter @DrJJoyner.