As Iraq loosens the taps, slow planning for a spill

With oil production set to boom, Iraq is facing an increasing risk of oil-related disaster, and environmental officials say the country isn’t ready to handle a major spill.
A large oil spillage in southern Iraq during the American-led invasion of the country, March 2003. (TOM STODDART/Getty Images)

BAGHDAD - Iraq is ill-prepared to handle environmental disasters associated with the country's expanding oil industry, particularly in the likelihood of an offshore oil spill, according to Iraq's Environment Ministry and neighboring oil officials.

With the oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico dominating U.S. and international headlines, the deputy environment minister said that now is an ideal time not only to address Iraq's own offshore spill preparedness but also to conduct a wide-ranging review of the oil sector as it relates to the environment.

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