GREENS BACK IRAQI OIL LAW PROTEST: TELL SHELL - HANDS OFF IRAQI OIL
PROTEST tomorrow, Tuesday 15th May, from 8.30 am till 12 noon, at
Novotel London -West Hotel and Convention Centre, Hammersmith
Green Party Principal Speaker Dr. Derek Wall today announced his
support for tomorrow's demonstration at the Shell AGM in London,
organized by Hands Off Iraqi Oil. (1)
Shell has played a major role in influencing Iraq’s controversial new
Oil Law, which would allow long-term contracts with foreign oil
companies to be signed while Iraq is still under occupation.
The oil law proposes giving multinational companies the primary role
in developing Iraq's huge untapped oilfields, under contracts lasting
up to 30 years. It is one of President Bush's 'benchmarks' for Iraq -
the various criteria of successes that he has drawn up which may
effect both the number of troops in Iraq and any funding for
rebuilding of Iraq's infrastructure.
Dr Derek Wall said:
"Iraq has the world's third largest oil reserves, mostly situated in
the Kurdish north and Shia-dominated south. Oil production in Iraq,
like in most of the Middle East, has been in the public sector since
"The proposed oil law has been portrayed as a means of equitably
diving Iraq's oil wealth. But in reality, it is about further
disempowering the Iraqi people, taking advantage of the government of
Iraq when it is new and weak.
"Hasan Jum’a Awwad, Head of the Iraqi Federation of Oil Unions, has
asked the US congress not to link withdrawal with the law, and has
appealed for people around the world to join him in publicly opposing
the law. I am proud to offer the Green Party's support for his fight.
"If passed, the law would allow two-thirds of Iraq’s oil fields to be
developed by private oil corporations. It would also place governing
decisions over oil in a new body known as the Iraqi Federal Oil and
Gas Council, which may include foreign oil companies. This would open
the door for foreign oil companies to lock up decades-long deals now,
when the Iraqi government is at its most vulnerable. (3)
"The foreign companies would not have to invest their earnings in the
Iraqi economy, partner with Iraqi companies, hire Iraqi workers or
share new technologies. The international oil companies could also be
offered some of the most corporate-friendly contract terms in the
world, including Production Sharing Agreements – which Iraqi unions
and many Parliamentarians have already explicitly rejected.
"The law has been called the 'smoking gun' revealing the oil agenda
behind the Iraq war. I hope as many people as can will attend
tomorrow's demonstration and show their oppostion to these disastrous
Notes for Editors:
(1) Hands off Iraqi Oil is a UK coalition opposing any foreign
exploitation of Iraq's oil reserves that rips off the Iraqi people.
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