Iraqi government officials have presented detailed plans for exploiting the country’s vast oil reserves at the “Iraq Oil, Gas, Petrochemicals and Electricity Summit” held in Dubai.

But they have admitted that the absence of the controversial oil law regulating the industry is a bigger obstacle than security to attracting foreign investment.

“Security is not stopping investors coming to Iraq, (it is because) they have no laws to protect their investment,” Ali al-Dabbagh, said the Iraqi government spokesman.

al-Dabbagh hopes the contrvoversial oil law will be adopted by the end of the month. “The majority of politicians are aware that we cannot go on without it,” he said. “The oil law is the future of Iraq.”

Talks have already been held with Shell, Texaco and Dow Chemical companies on possible investments in various proposed projects, said Fawzi al-Hariri, Iraq’s Minister of Industry and Minerals. Al-Hariri hoped that the negotiations would be concluded by the end of the year.