updated 1/7/2004 9:44:34 AM ET 2004-01-07T14:44:34

As they study how to organize Iraq’s oil industry, U.S. advisers and Iraqi officials are leaning toward recommending the formation of a single state-run petroleum company.

Today’s editions of the Wall Street Journal report that the idea being pushed would establish a state-owned company similar to those in neighboring Saudi Arabia and Kuwait.

The Journal says that if adopted, the move could sharply curtail the role of international oil corporations for years.

U.S. and Iraqi oil officials say they believe such a model can attract the massive foreign investment the industry needs. But international companies have been stymied by other state-controlled oil producers in the region, where political sensitivities about foreign interference have kept them out.

Iraq’s oil industry boasts reserves of about 112 billion barrels, second-largest in the world after Saudi Arabia.

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