March 31, 2010 / 1:11 PM / in 8 years

Iraq oil law a priority, PM hopeful Allawi says

BAGHDAD, March 31 (Reuters) - Former Iraqi Prime Minister Iyad Allawi said on Wednesday he would honour deals signed with global oil majors in recent months and would move quickly to pass a new hydrocarbons law if his bloc forms the government.

But Allawi, whose cross-sectarian Iraqiya bloc won the greatest number of seats in Iraq’s March 7 parliamentary election, said the deals might need some minor adjustments and he wanted to see more competition in Iraq’s energy sector.

“We are going to honour all contracts. We are going to honour all agreements because we believe this is very important,” Allawi told Reuters in an interview.

    Iraq awarded contracts to oil majors to refurbish its dilapidated oil fields after years of neglect and war with the goal of expanding production capacity to 12 million barrels per day (bpd) in about six years from about 2.5 mln bpd now. The contracts could catapult Iraq into the top ranks of global producers.

    Companies involved in the deals include U.S. giant Exxon Mobil (XOM.N); Royal Dutch Shell (RDSa.L), Europe’s largest oil company; Russia’s Lukoil (LKOH.MM); China’s CNPC.

    Allawi said he would move quickly to put a long-delayed hydrocarbons law before parliament to govern the industry.

    “It will definitely be a priority,” Allawi said. “It won’t take us long.”

    Reporting by Khalid al-Ansary and Jim Loney; Editing by Keiron Henderson

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