Iraq has become a Candidate country within the Extractive Industries Transparency Initiative (EITI), the global standard for improved transparency in the oil, gas and mining sector. This was announced today by the EITI International Board after its meeting in Oslo earlier this week.
Iraq had at the end of 2008 115 billion barrels of proven oil reserves, making it the country with the third largest reserves in the world and 9.1% of the world’s total reserves. The government of Iraq has committed to publish all the revenue from export sales from its oil sector. Equally, international companies buying oil from Iraq will publish what they have paid to the government. Overseen by a multi-stakeholder group with representatives from national government, companies and civil society, these figures will then be reconciled and published in an EITI Report.
One month ago, Noori Al-Maliki, Prime Minister of Iraq launched Iraqi EITI at a launch conference in Baghdad. Together with the Minister of Oil, Dr Hussain Al-Shahristani, they committed the government of Iraq to hold itself to account to its people, and the companies with whom it deals.
At the launch of the Iraqi EITI, Peter Eigen, Chair of the EITI, sent a greeting which included the following: “With well managed oil resources, the future of the Iraqi people could be very bright. For those of us who have spent our career tackling the root causes of corruption and conflict, and for the whole international community which follows Iraq closely, the Government’s plan to implement the EITI is a massive signal of Iraq’s determination to build a brighter future.”
On the announcement of Iraq's candidature, EITI Board Member Julie McDowell, the Head of Sustainable and Responsible Investment at Standard Life Investments, said “The institutional investment community will welcome the news that Iraq is an EITI Candidate country. The high standards of accounting and reporting inherent in the EITI are attractive to investors seeking to minimise risk, by ensuring greater openness and a more level playing field in the business environment.”
EITI Board Member Reidar Gjærum, Senior Vice President of Statoil, said “With its vast oil reserves, Iraq has now a opportunity for economic and societal development. Improving transparency and governance is necessary if the resources are to lead to growth and sustainability. The international oil companies in Iraq like Statoil welcome the commitment of the government of Iraq to conduct all our transactions with them in a transparent manner.”
For further information about EITI implementation in Iraq, contact Regional Director Eddie Rich at the EITI International Secretariat.