Iraq's crucial oil and electricity sectors still need roughly $50 billion to meet demand, analysts and officials say, even after the United States has poured more than $6 billion into them over more than four years.
Since the U.S. invasion of Iraq in 2003, the Bush administration has focused much of its $44.5 billion reconstruction plan on oil and electricity. Now, with the U.S.-led reconstruction phase nearing its close, Iraq will need to spend $27 billion more for its electrical system and $20 billion to $30 billion for oil infrastructure, according to estimates the Government Accountability Office collected from Iraqi and U.S. officials.
Even with the funding, the GAO notes that it could take until 2015 for Iraq to produce 6 million barrels of oil a day and have enough electricity to meet demand. A commanding general of the Army Corps of Engineers says it could have enough electricity sooner -- 2010 to 2013.
"The U.S. money was intended to get those industries started on recovery," said Stuart W. Bowen Jr., the U.S. special inspector general for Iraq reconstruction, who is charged with finding waste, fraud and abuse in the multibillion-dollar effort. "We were working with a dilapidated, run-down system. It still has a long, long way to go."
Sunday, September 2, 2007