BAGHDAD (Reuters) - China and Japan have staked their claim to develop Iraq's vast oil reserves with Tokyo offering billions of dollars in loans and Beijing agreeing to renegotiate a deal signed with Saddam, Iraq's oil minister said Wednesday.
Hussain al-Shahristani was briefing reporters after a tour of Asia that took in the world's second biggest oil consumer China and its third biggest Japan -- both heavily dependent on imports and keen to secure future energy supplies.
Iraq, which has the world's third largest oil reserves, is in urgent need of billions of dollars in foreign investment after years of sanctions and war crushed the industry.
The Baghdad government is working towards its first foreign oilfield development contract and is readying a legal framework.
State-owned China National Petroleum Corp signed the al-Ahdab deal in the midst of UN sanctions that barred direct dealings with Iraq's oil industry. Beijing was waiting for sanctions to end when the US invasion in 2003 overthrew Saddam's government.
All other energy contracts signed by foreign producers during the Saddam era also must be renegotiated after Iraqi lawmakers enact a new oil and gas law, which is likely to happen this year.
Al-Shahristani said al-Ahdab would be among the first fields offered to foreign bidders, which will need to show technical and financial capability and a proven record in producing oil.
Iraq will need up to $20 billion in investment to develop its oil infrastructure, the minister said.
http://www.chinadaily.com.cn/... I knew that Saddum wanted to go off the dollar, but I did not know about the oil deals with China. I wonder if this played a part on our invasion. Even if Saddum had weapons, would he have used them and destroy his arrangements with China? I somehow doubt it.