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Iraqi Official: Oil Infrastructure Needs Major Upgrade

BAGHDAD -- A senior Iraqi official says Iraq must overhaul its outdated oil infrastructure if it wants to boost output and offset the shortfall in revenues caused by plummeting oil prices.

Thamir al-Ghadban, chief adviser to Prime Minister Nuri al-Maliki and chairman of Iraq's investment commission, told RFE/RL's Radio Free Iraq that the government has sought to upgrade the oil industry legislatively, but the hydrocarbons bill that was sent to parliament by the cabinet has been in limbo due to squabbling between various factions.

Al-Ghadban told RFE/RL that other laws have been passed opening up Iraq's oil and gas industry -- including refineries, distribution, and retail sales -- to private local and foreign investment.