Iraq signs oil security pact with Britain

Eric Watkins
OGJ Oil Diplomacy Editor

LOS ANGELES, Oct. 14 -- Iraq’s parliament signed an agreement allowing as many as 100 British Royal Navy Trainers to return for up to a year to help Iraq protect its vital southern oil export terminals.

"The parliament passed the Iraqi-British security pact,” said Abbas al-Bayati, a member of parliament's security and defense committee. Without explanation, he said a bloc of politicians withdrew from the vote.

The British security pact failed to pass during parliamentary sessions in July because of opposition from some politicians, particularly those loyal to Shia cleric Moqtada al-Sadr, who reject any foreign troop presence in Iraq.

In August, Iraq’s South Oil Co. let a project management contract to AOC Holdings subsidiary Japan Oil Engineering (JOE) for front-end engineering and design to restore and upgrade southern Iraq's Fao export oil terminal.

Under the contract valued at ¥3 billion, JOE and Yachiyo Engineering Co. will help South Oil Co. design pipelines to connect a land-based oil storage facility with two sea-based shipping terminals 50 km off Basra in the Persian Gulf (OGJ Online, Aug. 6, 2009).

Most of Iraq's 2 million b/d of oil exports are shipped through the two oil terminals off Basra, where Iraq also faces problems with oil smugglers, border disputes with Iran, and a host of other security issues.

Contact Eric Watkins at hippalus@yahoo.com.

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