According to those in the corporate world, the fighting and the lack of security in Iraq is no longer a major obstacle to getting at Iraq’s oil. The real problem now is the lack of a favorable hydrocarbon law.
Meet Michael Wareing. He is Prime Minister Gordon Brown’s business emissary to Iraq. His job is to bring international investors to Iraq to help stimulate economic growth.
Wareing is head of a well-connected auditing firm and was appointed head of a new Basra Development Commission. The Basra region has 70 percent of Iraq’s proven oil reserves and according to The Observer, Oil giants are poised to move into Basra. Wareing thinks security is no longer an issue for investors in Iraq.
‘If you look at many other economies in the world, particularly the oil-rich economies, many of these places are quite challenging countries in which to do business,’ he said. ‘Frankly, if you can successfully operate in the Niger Delta, that is a very different benchmark from imagining that Basra needs to be like London or Paris.’
Iraq’s parliament has yet to pass a hydrocarbon law setting out the terms oil companies will operate on and how profits will be split. ‘My sense is that many of the oil companies are very eager to come in now, and actually what they’re waiting for is the hydrocarbon law to be passed and various projects to be signed off. That is what is causing them to pause, rather than the security position,’ he said.