MOSCOW, (Reuters) – Russia, worried its firms may be frozen out of oil deals in Iraq, said on Monday it hoped a draft law regulating how Iraq’s oil wealth is distributed will ensure Russian companies do not suffer discrimination.
Moscow opposed the U.S.-led invasion of Iraq in 2003. It is concerned that when the Iraqi government starts handing out new concessions, Russian companies will lose out to firms from countries that backed the military operation.
The draft law, which was approved by Iraq’s cabinet last month and now awaits approval by parliament, is seen as a key step to opening up Iraq — home to the world’s third largest oil reserves — to foreign investment.
“The Russian side noted the importance of the adoption of an
Iraqi law on hydrocarbons which correspondents to international standards,” Russia’s foreign ministry said in a statement.
“(Russia) expressed the hope that it (the law) will allow non-discriminatory access for companies from a variety of countries, including Russian firms, to the Iraqi oil and gas market, and underlined the readiness of Russian companies to participate in rebuilding Iraq’s economy.”
Russian companies, led by oil major, signed deals to develop
Iraqi reserves with the former administration under Saddam
Hussein. These have been on hold since the invasion.