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Parliamentary Q&A, Holds, and Oil Production

The rosy picture that Mr. Hain paints of Iraq's oil sector and oil producing capacity is not 
substantiated by the Secretary-General's Reports, Benon Sevan, or Oil Expert Mission Reports.  
Holds, insufficient investment, continued production despite dangerous production facilities and 
geological venues, and the resulting (and repeatedly vocalized) sector dilapidation continue to 
ensure that while Iraq's oil revenues will be aided by temporarily high petroleum prices, the 
barrels per day production will continue to drop. 

Although the Security Council recently lifted the oil production cap in Resolution 1284, increased 
oil sector investment allocation by $300 million in Resolution 1293, and ordered in Resolution 1284 
(para. 18) that expedited oil sector equipment approval guidelines be drawn up, the 661 Committee's 
past propensity to hold and the Security Council's aversion to alacrity suggest that these on-paper 
changes will not arrest the oil sector's disintegration.  Note that on 20 April 2000 Benon Sevan 
begged the 661 Committee to "proceed expeditiously in finalizing a decision regarding the 
procedures to be applied under paragraph 18 of resolution 1284 (1999), for approval of oil spare 
parts and equipment". (  This was a full 4 
months after the Security Council passed Resolution 1284.        

For Secretary-General reports and remarks, comments by Benon Sevan, and reports by oil expert 
missions on holds and the oil sector, see:

Benon Sevan on holds:

Koffi Annan on holds:

* (10 March 2000 Report)

See also Secretary-General Reports and do a keyword search for "holds":

See also "Chronology"

The oil sector (repeatedly described as "lamentable"):


* (10 March 2000 Report)
-See para. 17-64.  Please carefully note para. 24, 27, 50, 56-63.  In the 10 March 2000 Report the 
Secretary-General chronicles:

1) His repeated recommendations and pleas that the Security Council immediately increase investment 
levels and that the 661 Committee stop holding oil sector parts   
2) The Security Council's failure to heed his warnings about the oil sector's dilapidation and 
immediate need for investment and parts

Please also look at the 15 April 1998 report of the first oil expert mission to go to Iraq to 
assess the oil industry.  This report clearly stated that Iraq's oil sector was in a "lamentable 
state" and that it the "deterioration" would "accelerate unless immediate steps" were "taken to 
relieve and contain the problem".  From there one can track how the Security Council ignored that 
report, successive expert reports (see also and the Secretary-General's begging.

15 April 1998 cover letter from Kofi Annan:

15 April 1998 Oil Sector Report:

With regards,
   Nathaniel Hurd
   Boston, USA
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