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Energy Leaders sign MOU to further promote electricity cooperation
WASHINGTON, DC - U.S. Department of Energy Secretary Samuel W. Bodman today hosted Iraq's Minister of Oil Hussein al-Shahristani and Minster of Electricity Karim Wahid Hasan to discuss the rehabilitation and expansion of Iraq's energy infrastructure. The Ministers' visit to the Department follows up on Secretary Bodman's invitation to them to come to the United States to talk to professionals in electricity generation, transmission and distribution, and oil sector development.
"The U.S. government is committed to providing scientific and technical assistance to help the Iraqi people expand their energy sector," Secretary Bodman said. "We encourage and support Iraqi led changes and reforms as the people of Iraq work through the challenges of building a new democracy and a new economy."
Secretary Bodman encouraged the Ministers to continue progress on economic and management reforms, including commercialization of the energy sector. Secretary Bodman also reiterated his commitment to continue a dialogue with the Ministries of Oil and Electricity, following his trip to Iraq last week where they discussed ways the U.S. Department of Energy can assist in rebuilding Iraq's energy infrastructure.
During Secretary Bodman's meeting with Electricity Minister Karim Wahid Hasan, the two signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) between the U.S. Department of Energy and the Iraqi Ministry of Electricity. This MOU formalizes the increased bilateral cooperation between the two nations in the areas of energy analysis, science, technology, and energy awareness and education.
During his meeting with Minister al-Shahristani, Secretary Bodman stressed the importance of developing and implementing a national hydrocarbon law, which will allow much needed foreign investment in the oil and natural gas sector of their economy and ensure Iraq's natural resources are used for the benefit of all the Iraqi people. In addition, at Minister al-Shahristani's request, Secretary Bodman convened a meeting of oil sector leaders to discuss how the private sector can help Iraq develop its energy infrastructure and the role of a national hydrocarbon law in Iraq. During their meeting the business leaders discussed infrastructure rehabilitation and expansion opportunities, technology and technical capabilities, and the need for transparent and consistent laws and guidelines that will allow investment to flourish.
DOE currently provides technical experts to the Iraq Reconstruction Management Office and the U.S. Embassy Baghdad and will be pursuing joint projects to further strengthen the bilateral relationship with Iraqi energy and scientific ministries.
Craig Stevens, (202) 586-4940