The United States views oil as a top priority in Iraq after the toppling of the regime of President Saddam Hussein.
"Oil will remain the primary
source of revenue and will play a pivotal role in the country's economic
reconstruction," a statement by a special panel formed by the State Department said. Organized by the
department's Future of Iraq Project, the group met late last month, Middle East Newsline reported.
Its goal is to establish "a rehabilitated, globally connected oil
and gas sector," the statement said.
The group, which plans to reconvene over the next few weeks, stressed
the need to establish a favorable investment climate and attract
international and local capital for the reconstruction and growth of the
industry. The statement said a priority of the working group is to draft
plans on how to restore Iraq's energy capacity in wake of the expected
U.S.-led war against the Saddam regime.
In a two-day meeting, Iraqi-born oil and gas experts discussed the
administration of Iraq's huge oil and natural gas sector. The discussions on
Dec. 20-21 also discussed Saddam's contracts with Russian companies to
explore for and develop energy resources.
The group aimed to identify short- and medium-term priorities for the
Iraqi oil and gas sector in the post-Saddam era. Another objective by the
group was to determine the components required for a restructuring of the