NY Times pimps the privatization of Iraq's oil

I'm fascinated when ideas that are almost universally embraced as true are also wrong.

Consider the following example, from a New York Times story about Iraq's proposed oil law:

Without such a law, it would also be impossible for Iraq to attract the foreign investment it desperately needs to bolster its oil industry.
Foreign investment is a key ingredient in all kinds of development projects in all kinds of countries. It's also the rationale for the push to open Iraq's oil sector to foreign investment. So the reporter, Edward Wong, believes it must be necessary in this case even though none of the world's top four oil producers -- with 51% of the planet's reserves between them -- have any deals that give foreign companies an equity stake in their production, which is what's being pushed in Iraq (they do make use of the private sector on a straight, for-hire basis).

So he reports that Iraq "desperately" needs foreign investment in the oil sector, and doesn't feel the need to justify or source the claim. What's more, he reports it despite the fact that it defies basic mathematics.

Here's what Platform, the British oil NGO, has to say about Iraq's options for financing the modernization of its oil sector (PDF):

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