Oil experts debate a new state oil company

Two ex-oil ministers favor it, the current oil minister opposes it, but a hearing this week over a new Iraqi National Oil Company indicates Parliament may be serious about legislating.
Employees of state-run Iraqi Drilling Company work at an oilfield in Iraq's southern province of Basra January 16, 2011. The IDC and the more than dozen other state oil firms may become part of a new Iraqi National Oil Company, currently being debated in Parliament. (ATEF HASSAN/Reuters)

BAGHDAD - There are a number of reasons why this week's parliamentary hearing on the proposed Iraqi National Oil Company (INOC) law was unprecedented: it was open to the media, featured experts who openly disagreed, and included calm questioning and debate.

But the most surprising part was that it happened at all.

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