Iraq is preparing to allow four of the biggest western oil companies, BP, Exxon Mobil, Shell and Total, to renew exploitation of the country's vast reserves for the first time in almost four decades.
According to Iraq's oil minister:
"The deal did not amount to the privatization of the country's oil. Instead the deal is being presented as limited 2 year support contracts where the companies will sell expertise and equipment rather than providing capital and management control of existing fields. "In response to why there was no competitive bidding for the concessions. which were awarded to the four giants plus Chevron and some smaller companies.Although not normally interested in such deals the four majors see the contracts as a stepping stone towards an extension rights under which each company would get first preference on any future contract for the field on which it has worked.
"The four companies are heirs to the consortium given the concession to control Iraq's oil by, the King Faisal monarchy after the first world war. They lost their right to explore new fields in 1961 after the monarchy was overthrown, and nationalization was installed by the Ba'ath party."Since the early days of Paul Bremer, the Iraqi Parliament has been pressured to sign the deal, allowing the oil companies to restart exploration for the so called “sweet crude” (oil that can be retrieved at costs less than $4 a barrel) suspected to be lying under the deserts in the western half of the country.
Energy Information Administration (EIA) figures claim that Iraq contains over 112 billion barrels (bbl) of proven reserves—oil that has been definitively discovered and is expected to be economically producible.
In addition, since Iraq is the least explored of the oil-rich countries, there have been numerous claims of huge undiscovered reserves there as well—oil thought to exist, and expected to become economically recoverable—with estimates running as high as 300 billion barrels.
If true, this would mean that Iraq has roughly a quarter of all of the world's oil.
Through lies and deceit "America's Worst President", invaded a country to secure oil reserves and extend America's Empire into the 21st century.
And even though it has cost 100's of thousands of lives, billions of dollars and made the earth a much more dangerous place to live on, you know deep in your heart, that Cheney and Bush did high fives in the White House last night.
Article from the Guardian here and oil statistics from the Brookings Institute here.