Minister of Oil Husayn Al-shahristani of Iraq

Al-Shahristani says negotiations with these companies focused on providing remote technical assistance because of the security situation at the time, adding that Iraq has announced the first round of licensing, which constitutes open, transparent, and clear competition among qualified companies.
Concerning partnership, Al-Shahristani says Iraq will not sign production sharing contracts, explaining that these contracts give foreign companies the right to share the state its oil production.
Al-Shahristani says this clamour was unrealistic and incorrect, because this law did not specify what type of contracts should be used and left it for the Iraqi government to decide, adding that in the absence of this law, which has not yet been endorsed, we in the Iraqi Oil Ministry and the central government in general have now made a decision to the effect that Iraqi oil contracts to develop oil and gas fields should be service contracts only, not partnership contracts.
Asked when the Oil and Gas Law will be referred to the Council of Representatives for discussion and approval, Al-Shahristani says there are some political differences over a number of articles, topped by the production sharing contracts, explaining that a large number of parliamentarians believe that a paragraph should be added to the law to prohibit the use of production sharing contracts.
Asked whether the Oil and Gas Law empowers oil production provinces to conclude contracts with foreign companies without consulting with the central government, Al-Shahristani denies that this law does so, explaining that a province can negotiate contracts, provided it adheres to the plan set by the central government, the standard Iraqi contract approved by the central government, and the mechanisms of negotiation.
Asked how the problem with Iraqi Kurdistan Province will be resolved, Al-Shahristani says there is a constitution that governs everybody, and whose articles are clear, adding that if differences arise in interpreting these articles, the constitutional court will have the final say concerning these differences.
Al-Shahristani says this figure is illogical, because Iraqi crude oil is not exported by this method; rather, it is pumped through pipelines to the Basra oil docks located in the deep waters of the Gulf and is controlled and supervised by international observers.
Concerning corruption, Al-Shahristani says there was massive corruption during the former regime's era as the state was involved in oil smuggling, and this corruption continued during the US civil administration after the downfall of the regime until 2006 when the current government was formed.
Saddam's chief nuclear scientist in the 1970s, al-Shahristani was imprisoned after he refused to cooperate with an increasingly militaristic programme.
Moreover, al-Shahristani said the story of Karbala since the invasion is a good example of how the Americans are subverting the new Iraq.
Nevertheless, despite the dissatisfaction with foreign rule in Iraq, al-Shahristani is hopeful about Iraq's future.
Al-Shahristani said Iraq considered relations with Turkey in a strategic vision, and expressed sorrow over the attack against Turkey's Embassy in Baghdad in which a Turkish police officer was injured.
In addition, tensions between the two countries arose after Turkey demanded that Iraq agree to buy oil from 17 specific companies, a demand al-Shahristani said was unreasonable.
Trucking oil abroad to refine it is costly and slow (RFE/RL file photo)In addition, tensions between the two countries arose after Turkey demanded that Iraq agree to buy oil from 17 specific companies, a demand al-Shahristani said was unreasonable.
Al-Shahristani met with his Iranian counterpart, Kazem Vaziri-Hamaneh, in Tehran earlier this month to discuss exchanging Basra light crude for liquefied petroleum gas (LPG) and kerosene produced in Iran.
Upgrading InfrastructureAl-Shahristani said on August 21 that Iraq plans to build several new refineries and upgrade existing ones by 2010.
production numbers, which will ensure it stays compliant with OPEC.
Al-Shahristani said the Iraqi government was forging ahead with plans to open up new oil fields and develop the Akkass gas field, which is near the Syrian border and which could eventually ship gas into the Mashreq pipeline.
Al-Shahristani said his ministry would be going over draft bidding contracts to develop the fields with international oil companies this year.
Bearing in mind that Russia has developed the field before, it may have a certain advantage and make a more competitive bid than others," al-Shahristani was quoted as saying by the Interfax news agency.
The Lukoil press department confirmed that al-Shahristani met for more than two hours with the company's president Vagit Alekperov, who returned to Moscow from holiday specially for the meeting.
Interfax said that al-Shahristani was due to meet with Lukoil CEO Vagit Alekperov on Thursday.
Upon his arrival for a three-day visit in Moscow Wednesday, Iraqs Husayn al-Shahristani said he would disclose new terms for oil operations in Iraq.
Al-Shahristani was arrested on suspicion of sabotage at Iraqs Al-Tuwaythah atomic-research center in 1979, and he was imprisoned and tortured for 11 years for allegedly failing to cooperate in Iraqs development of a nuclear bomb.
Al-Shahristani said any agreement on oil was within the scope of responsibilities of the central government of Iraq.
Iraq wanted to improve its natural gas resources as well, Al-Shahristani said and added that Iraq desired to transfer the excessive natural gas, which it would have after the natural gas reserves in Akkas and Al Mansuriyah regions started operating, to Turkey through two pipelines.
Despite the previous Middle East in-fighting regarding shared fields, Iraqi Oil Minister Husayn al-Shahristani has said his country is ready to enter agreements with Iran and Kuwait to explore fields along the countries' shared borders.
An Iraqi government spokesman told Iraqi television audiences on Feb 21 that al-Shahristani is certain Iran is not exploiting shared fields along the Iraqi/Iranian border.
Iraqi Oil Minister Husayn al-Shahristani said recently that production increased in October, but it remains unclear whether the current output levels can be maintained or increased.
Regarding the southern terminals, al-Shahristani said they are completely under his ministry's control, and the ministry has installed meters to track oil exports.
Earlier, al-Shahristani met with energy minister Viktor Khristenko as well as meeting for more than two hours with the Lukoil CEO Vagit Alekperov, who returned to Moscow from vacation specially for the meeting.
Al-Shahristani said the country has 80 proven fields and another 400 fields have been identified as possibly containing oil.
Husayn al-Shahristani says no company will get special treatment from the government in Baghdad.
Speaking after a meeting with International Monetary Fund (IMF) officials in Amman, Oil Minister Husayn al-Shahristani said the revised budget assumed an oil price of $62 a barrel -- lower than the $80 on which the previous version of the 2009 budget was based.
Visiting Iraqi Minister of Oil Husayn al-Shahristani said on Saturday that Iraq desired to improve its cooperation with Turkey in the energy sector.
Interfax said that al-Shahristani was due to meet with Lukoil CEO Vagit Alekperov.