Iraq: was it all about the oil?

June 30, 2008

iraq-oil-minister-2.jpgFive years after the U.S.-led invasion to topple Saddam Hussein, Iraq is throwing open its oil sector to foreign oil firms  in a way Saudi Arabia, Kuwait and others in the region are reluctant to. Oil Minister Hussain al-Shahristani says no company will have any special privilege.

Some  analysts take a different view. They reckon U.S. and British oil majors are in a strong position to help develop the world’s third-largest oil reserves. Exxon Mobil, Chevron, Royal Dutch Shell and BP head the queue. They have already built up a relationship with Iraq’s oil officials by negotiating short-term technical deals.

Now Iraq is inviting bids for long-term development contracts at its biggest fields, the “backbone of its industry” in the words of Shahristani. He believes Iraq could become the world’s second- or third-biggest oil producing country, rivalling Saudi Arabia and Russia.

Are U.S. and British firms obvious choices as partners because of their expertise? After all, before the U.S.-led invasion Iraq often preferred Russian firms. Or are U.S. and British firms reaping the benefit of their governments’ policies?


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No it wasn’t ALL about oil. It was about imperial hubris too, and a willingness to lie to the American people. And 9/11 ? I’ll leave it there.

Posted by Grandpa | Report as abusive

Was it all about the oil? Say it wasn’t so!

Given the Bush-Cheney background, how could anyone be that surprised?

Posted by Erik Donald France | Report as abusive

AFP: Iraq fails to ink deals with global oil majors Qe6kZk5-eZCrfwdcm4tKOaug


Lots of info on Iraqi oil here:

Posted by J Welch | Report as abusive

Of course! was there any doubt? now its Iran’s oil fields next.

Posted by shabina | Report as abusive

Can anyone else hear that giant sucking sound?

These companies arm-twisting Iraq have no soul. They are drinking the blood-money like no tomorrow. Allow me to name and shame them:

Anadarko Iraq Company, USA
BG International, UK
BHP Billiton Petroleum Pty Ltd., Australia
B.P., UK
Chevron Iraq Ltd., USA
CNOOC China Ltd, China
CNPC, China
Conoco Phillips, USA
Edison International SPA, Italy
ENI, Italy
Exxonmobil, USA
Hess Corporation, USA
Inpex Holding, Japan
Japex, Japan
JSC Gazprom Neft, Russia
Kogas, Korea
Lukoil, Russia
Maersk, Denmark
Marthon International Petroleum Limited, USA
Mitsubishi Corporation, Japan
Nexen Inc. (International oil & Gas nexen Inc.), Canada
Nippon oil, Japan
Occidental Petroleum, USA
ONGC, India
Petronas, Malaysia
Pertamina, Indonesia
Premier, UK
Repsol, Spain
Shell Iraq, Netherlands
Sinochem, China
Sinopic Group, China
Statoil Hydro, Norway
Total, France
Wintershall Basf Group, Germany
Woodside, Australia

Posted by Nu’man El-Bakri | Report as abusive

Dear Janet,
I think it is obvious from your post that the control of oil and international energy policy are the central aims of this war. It is also come as advantageous for the state of Israel.

By the way the Arabic report on this subject filed by the BBC states very clearly that these companies you mention will have preferential treatment when it comes to future major contracts!

Posted by Tamara | Report as abusive


Reuters blog reveals that Iraq was all about the oil!

Shock horror ho hum, must be off, gotta fill my tank before the price of gas goes up…again.

Posted by Travis Lyle | Report as abusive

Are the American people expected to leave their common sense behind when the government of the worlds largest oil consumer says its about democracy and not oil while among the many candidate nations in dire need of a democracy makeover, only the one with large oil reserves gets the treatment?

Posted by Tom | Report as abusive

Well let’s see…

Bush and his administration already had plans to invade Iraq before they entered office.

We invaded Iraq on the false premise of WMDs.

We have killed hundred of thousands of Iraqi’s, bomb their infrastructure and leave them with no sustainable political solutions.

Then we go and say we went in to liberate the Iraqi people.

Humm, doublespeak anyone.

The true intentions from Day 1: OIL.

Posted by Candi | Report as abusive

Let’s go back to the very beginning with Bush’s long history with the oil industry. He meets with oil company execs in secret before invading Iraq. He misleads the public about WMDs in order to invade and topple the Iraqi government. And now, big oil wins NO-BID contracts to drill oil in Iraq. hmmmm… I wonder how big the kickbacks are that Bush and his minions are getting under the table from the oil giants. And all the while the U.S. economy is spiraling down out of control. It’s criminal. And God help us if Bush and Israel attack Iran.

Posted by J. Patton | Report as abusive

Iraq was all about oil and the US need to keep the “war industry” producing profits and providing employment for Americans. With the US dollar dropping relative to the Euro, the economy sagging and a mentality of unbridled consumption of energy in the USA, Iraq may be the tip of the iceberg with Venezuela soon to follow (after Iran).

Posted by William | Report as abusive

This illegal war was fought for three reasons, all of which have become obvious for anyone who cares to look.

1) An potential enemy of Israel was eliminated without a dime of Israeli money being spent thanks to the generosity and stupidity of Americans.

2) Bush got to act out his evangelical dream of creating a Christian friendly state in the heart of Islam.

3) Oil got all the major energy and Wall streat onboard.

All three groups will quickly learn that illegal violence gets you nothing in the longterm. I knew the WMD argument was a smokescreen from day one but was powerless to have my voice heard. It would be obvious if we cared enough to truly investigate.

Posted by danr | Report as abusive

When an American M1-A1 Abrahms tank is equipped with a jet engine and gets less than two miles per gallon you know people in the Pentagon get a little nervous as we pass Peak Oil. Loron ,New Paltz, NY.

Posted by loron | Report as abusive

It’s been about the oil since oilmen Busn and Cheney took office Jan 20, 2001. It just took longer than they had hoped (per the recent report, no planning was involved) Now the amoral among us can argue if the additional supply was worth kicking 5 million Iraqis out of their homes, killing another million, slaughtering 4000 plus American, British, etc soldiers, and wasting a trillion going on two, dollars.
Have a nice day.

Posted by Franklin E Schroeter | Report as abusive

So is Lindsey Williams right or not about the World Bank’s role in all of this or is he just a paranoid kook?

Posted by David Cossa | Report as abusive

no it’s not all about oil. it’s only partly about oil. it’s also about turning iraq into a client state from which the u.s. can base its troops and exert its diplomatic, political and military power throughout the middle east. and with the current oil bids being let by iraq’s oil ministry (with the papers drawn up by u.s. lawyers), and with iraq continuing to negotiate special status for u.s. troops and contractors for time immemorial and with the biggest U.S. embassy in the world in baghdad, bush is proceeding right on schedule. you think imperialism went out with WWII or suez? look again, look at poor little iraq.

Posted by samg | Report as abusive

Was it all about the oil?


(Another edition of simple answers to simple questions.)

Posted by Susan | Report as abusive

This War is not any different than any other War. It is not over oil. It is over Money and Power. Stop your complaining.

Posted by Dog | Report as abusive

I believe Lindsey Williams is dead on. The invasion of Iraq and it’s reasoning goes far beyond just Bush, Cheney and oil.

Posted by Jason | Report as abusive

Be Prepared! The Us Economy will go down the tubes if Oil hits $200.00 a Barrell. IF Gas hits $10.00 Plus a gallon in the US ….we are all in Trouble. Food, Gas and any other service you can think of will go up as well! And,Crime rate will increase dramanically!
OPEC doesnt want to do anything about the situation but count their $$ they are getting.
Who in the world wants to help their fellow countrymen??
Its a Sorry situation we are in at this time. Feel sorry for our GrandKids and how will they ever afford to go to College!

Posted by tom ronec | Report as abusive