The energy and environment dilemma: sustainably developing Iraqi oil and gas in International law and policy - prospects and challenges

Munir Maniruzzaman, Khalid I. Al-Saleem

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The dilemma of energy and environment is a matter of great concern for any resource-rich developing country, let alone for Iraq having the fifth largest proven oil reserves in the world. Waking up from the past four decades of war and conflicts, and faced with the continuing acute political tensions, sectarian divides and violence, and future uncertainties, Iraq has thus a tremendous challenge in hand for the sustainable development of its such vast reserves of oil and gas along the lines of international law standards and norms. This is more so at a time when the reconstruction of its war-torn economy for its social and economic development and prosperities is in process. The study examines the current Iraqi legal framework (both domestic and international) and policies concerning investment in the oil and gas sector and its development in the wider context of geopolitics, and tensions between the federal and regional governments (especially the KRG) in Iraq, and appraises how it falls short of the standards and norms of international sustainable development law as it is evolving at the global stage. It has been observed that for Iraq the road to sustainable development is not a plain one, and there are many bumpy rides ahead. It is important that with the ever-increasing pressure for sustainable development of fossil fuel as on the global agenda of the international community, Iraq as a major producer must respond to it. As it stands at present, Iraq’s shortcomings in this respect are alarming and staggering, and it has to go a long way to remedy that politically, legally and policy wise. The approach followed in this paper is interdisciplinary which along with law and policy looks into relevant political, social, economic, geopolitical aspects in order to get a better perspective of sustainable development issues concerning oil and gas in the Iraqi context. This is what this study has explored and put forward some suggestions for a better future of Iraq as a resource-rich developing country. This study facilitates the understanding of Iraqi politicians, policy makers, legislators, international oil companies, development-partner countries, interested international organizations and non-governmental organizations in respect of sustainable development issues of Iraqi oil and gas and suggests some ways forward to fix them.
Original languageEnglish
Article number0
Pages (from-to)0
Number of pages106
JournalOil, Gas & Energy Law
Issue number3
Publication statusPublished - 31 Jul 2017


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