Saturday, June 21, 2008

Hope for Iraq: Oil Fields May Return to Full Production

Big Oil used to operate in Iraq. That all changed when they were "chased out of the oil-rich country 36 years ago by the late dictator Saddam Hussein."

Now, Iraq's oil are fields in sad shape. The Iraqi government has a chance to get expert help, correcting three decades of mis-management and repairing damage from poor maintenance and several wars.

Good News for Iraq, Right?

I think so. The country's still a mess, and could use cash flowing in. The Iraq oil fields have the potential to put Iraq back on its feet economically. I suspect that Iraqi leaders would rather do the job themselves, but after all these years the Iraqis who had the expertise are probably either dead or out of the country.

"Big Oil" and Iraq: Same Old, Same Old

Shockingly, the experts expect to be paid.

I'm not shocked myself, but I'm one of these crass people who don't expect others to work for free.

I also figure that, if a company is going to spend multiple millions of dollars on rebuilding a half-wrecked oil industry in another country, that company will expect to get its money back, with a reasonable profit.

It looks like that's what's happening in Iraq.

The odds are pretty good that the original partners in the Iraq Petroleum Company, plus some newcomers, will get no-bid contracts to make Iraq's largest oil fields pump oil out of the country, and money in. The companies are
  • Exxon*
  • Mobil*
  • Shell*
  • Total*
  • BP
  • Chevron
  • Other smaller oil companies
* - original partners in the Iraq Petroleum Company

I've got a few concerns about this. The 'no bid contract' isn't exactly what I'd have liked to see. On the other hand, the contracts are for one or two years, and relatively small, as such things go.

My guess is that Iraq offering 'no bid contracts' to the original IPC partners and others was a way to sweeten the pot. In their place, I'd probably prefer to deal - at first - with the same outfits that my father's generation had dealt with.

For others, "Big Oil" doing business in Iraq is some kinda plot.

That's the reaction from people who are convinced that the only reason Bush invaded Iraq was to steal their oil. Remember:
  • Bush acted unilaterally
    • With a coalition of dozens of other nations: about 1 out of every 8 nations in the world, by my count
  • Intelligence, some supplied by, and all believed by, countries other than America, indicating that Hussein either had nuclear weapons, or was close to having them, are lies
    • Any ideas other than 'it's the oil' must be lies: otherwise the war wouldn't have been all about oil, and everybody knows it was
Particularly with an American presidential election coming up, I think we'll be hearing quit a bit from the 'bloated profits built on the backs of bleeding brothers' thing.

News, Some With Views

  • "Deals with Iraq are set to bring oil giants back"
    International Herald Tribune (June 19, 2008)
    • "BAGHDAD: Four Western oil companies are in the final stages of negotiations this month on contracts that will return them to Iraq, 36 years after losing their oil concession to nationalization as Saddam Hussein rose to power.
    • "Exxon Mobil, Shell, Total and BP — the original partners in the Iraq Petroleum Company — along with Chevron and a number of smaller oil companies, are in talks with Iraq's Oil Ministry for no-bid contracts to service Iraq's largest fields, according to ministry officials, oil company officials and an American diplomat.
    • "The deals, expected to be announced on June 30, will lay the foundation for the first commercial work for the major companies in Iraq since the American invasion, and open a new and potentially lucrative country for their operations."
  • "Big Oil Poised To Do Business With Iraq"
    CBS News (June 19, 2008)
    • "(AP) Iraq is close to signing oil service deals with several major Western oil companies in an effort to boost its output capacity, the country's oil ministry said Thursday - the first major Iraqi contracts with big Western companies since the 2003 U.S.-led invasion.
    • "The deals, once signed, are something of a stopgap measure to help Iraq begin to increase production until the country is able to approve a new national oil law - now held up by political squabbles among Sunnis, Shiites and Kurds.
    • "But they also could mark the beginning of an important long-term toehold by big Western companies into Iraq's potentially lucrative oil industry, by giving the companies a bidding advantage over other companies in the future."
  • "MISSION ACCOMPLISHED: Big Oil Heading Back to Iraq." (June 19, 2008)
    • "WASHINGTON (AFP) — Global oil giants are preparing to return to Iraq after being chased out of the oil-rich country 36 years ago by the late dictator Saddam Hussein, reports said Thursday.
    • "Shell, BP and ExxonMobil are all eagerly lining up to tap into the resources of the Middle Eastern nation with a deal due to be signed on June 30, the New York Times said quoting oil companies and a US diplomat.
    • " 'The deals ... will lay the foundation for the first commercial work for the major companies in Iraq since the American invasion, and open a new and potentially lucrative country for their operations,' the Times said."
  • "Big oil cashes in on Iraq slaughter"
    The Real News (June 20, 2008)
    • "Four major US, British and French oil companies are getting their hands on the petroleum reserves of Iraq for the first time in 36 years, based on no-bid contracts, the New York Times reported Thursday.
    • "These deals reached with the US-backed regime in Baghdad have placed the five-year-old US war of aggression in the clearest possible perspective.
    • "For the thousands of American families who have seen their sons and daughters killed in the Iraq war or return maimed or psychologically damaged, the knowledge that their sacrifices have opened up potentially huge new profit streams for Exxon-Mobil, Shell, British Petroleum and Total will provide cold comfort."

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Note! Although I believe that these websites and blogs are useful resources for understanding the War on Terror, I do not necessarily agree with their opinions. 1 1 Given a recent misunderstanding of the phrase "useful resources," a clarification: I do not limit my reading to resources which support my views, or even to those which appear to be accurate. Reading opinions contrary to what I believed has been very useful at times: sometimes verifying my previous assumptions, sometimes encouraging me to change them.

Even resources which, in my opinion, are simply inaccurate are sometimes useful: these can give valuable insights into why some people or groups believe what they do.

In short, It is my opinion that some of the resources in this blogroll are neither accurate, nor unbiased. I do, however, believe that they are useful in understanding the War on Terror, the many versions of Islam, terrorism, and related topics.