New Iraqi oil deals challenged in court

Dec. 22 hearing the first legal challenge to oil contracts concluded this year with foreign oil companies, including seven awarded Friday and Saturday.

BAGHDAD - Iraq’s federal court is being asked by a Member of Parliament to invalidate the contract to develop the Rumaila oil field signed last month between the Iraqi Oil Ministry, BP and the Chinese National Petroleum Corp.

If declared unconstitutional, it would threaten the government’s efforts to dramatically boost oil production by offering service contracts to foreign oil companies. This weekend, seven oil fields were awarded in an auction. The Rumaila field was awarded in a June 30 auction, and two additional fields from that bidding round were awarded in November.

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