Libya's oil loss Iraq's gain?

Aug. 4, 2011 at 8:09 AM
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DUBAI, United Arab Emirates, Aug. 4 (UPI) -- The lack of significant oil production from war-torn Libya might lead to good fortune for post-war Iraq, an analyst said.

The International Energy Agency in June called on its member states to release strategic petroleum reserves to add more liquidity to a market hampered by declines in Libyan oil production.

Erin Miller Rankin, a construction lawyer at Freshfields Bruckhaus Deringer in Dubai, told Emirati newspaper The National that Libya's loss might be Iraq's gain.

"There will be people who were tied up on projects in Libya who will be looking for another place to invest," she was quoted as saying. "Iraq is going to boom."

The Iraqi finance minister in May confirmed the first oil export payment to contractors in the Kurdish region. Kurdish Prime Minister Barham Salih said the federal government in Baghdad confirmed payment to the Kurdistan Regional Government for revenues derived from the export of 5 million barrels of oil early this year.

Baghdad awarded dozens of oil and gas contracts since 2003. The country is trying to ramp up oil exports to help stimulate an economy ravaged by pre-war economic sanctions.

Miller Rankin said that despite its vast oil wealth, Iraq lacks basic infrastructure.

"Forget new projects, they don't have roads to get the oil out," she said. "They need everything."

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