Published online by Cambridge University Press: 07 December 2009
To say nothing of the as yet undiscovered reserves of oil and natural gas in Iraq, its 115 bbl (billion barrels) of proven crude oil and 112 Tcf (trillion cubic feet) of proven natural gas reserves provide it with immense potential wealth and make it a critical link in the energy and economic demands of the industrialized world. From the earliest days of the TPC and IPC during the opening decades of the last century, the significance of Iraq's position as an energy supplier was well recognized. With the marked growth in output that followed Iraq's hydrocarbon nationalization efforts in the 1960s and 1970s, the nation sought to capitalize on both increased world energy demand and its own position of being a beneficiary of sizable energy deposits. The intervening years witnessed the maturation of INOC as a key player in energy production, the stagnation incident to the Eight-Year War with Iran, the national move toward centralization of the entire energy sector under the watchful eye of an Oil Ministry reporting directly to Saddam Hussein, the legal limits on oil and gas development that grew out of Gulf War I for fear of Iraq reconstituting its weapons of mass destruction programs, the continued UN supervision of and protection for the industry following in the wake of Gulf War II, and the eventual birth of a democracy accompanied by rumblings for a new legal regime for Iraq's hydrocarbon resources.