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Struggle seen on oil revenue

BAGHDAD -- Iraq's oil minister said the country's draft oil law was submitted to parliament yesterday, setting up potentially bitter talks over the creation of a framework for managing the country's petroleum supplies and distributing oil revenues.

Oil minister Hussein al-Shahristani told reporters in Saudi Arabia that he believed the legislation would be passed by the end of the month. But some expect a more protracted struggle, as Sunnis, Shi'ites, and Kurds vie for shares of revenue from the world's third largest oil reserves.

The prime minister of the Kurdistan Regional Government, Nechirvan Barzani, told Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki that Kurds would not accept the oil law unless a piece of companion legislation were amended. The changes would allow the Kurds greater concessions in developing oil fields in their territory, according to Mahmoud Othman, a Kurdish legislator.

Mehdi Hafedh, parliament member and former planning minister, said he believed that eventually a compromise solution would be reached.

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