Following first and second-round bids between several international oil companies and the Ministry of Oil, there has been much discussion about whether these successful companies are subject to further ratification by the Council of Representatives (Parliament) in order for the tender to be a comprehensive and legally binding contract. This discussion has dominated Iraqi domestic politics and petroleum policy.
Following the pre-qualification of 35 international oil companies (IOCs) by the Ministry of Oil’s Petroleum Contracts Licensing Directorate in April 2008, the minister of oil recently met IOCs in London. The ministry appears to be trying to strike a balance between production-sharing agreements and the ambitions of IOCs to play a bigger role in the Iraqi industry.
Iraqi oil production has continued to rise to pre-war levels despite the transitional nature of the government, a tentative legal landscape (which has failed to change significantly since the fall of the Hussein regime) and a precarious security situation.