Global Policy Forum

Blair Envoy Lobbied Iraq Prime Minister for BP 3 months After Leaving Post

As UK envoy to the UN in 2002, Sir Jeremy Greenstock made claims for war against Iraq that had not been substantiated by UK military intelligence. Greenstock served as UK Special Representative to Iraq until June 2004 when he was hired by British Petroleum (BP) as a “special adviser”.  Newly released documents show that in September 2004 – only three months after he left his post in Iraq - Greenstock met with Iraqi Prime Minister Ayad Allawi who he is believed to have lobbied on behalf of BP for a contract to study Iraq’s largest oilfield in Rumaila. In January 2005, BP won the contract and eventually won a 20-year deal to manage the field under which they and their partner, CNPC, are set to receive returns of up to $660 million per year after tax.

By Greg Muttitt

Fuel on the Fire
18 May 2011

New documents show holes in revolving door regulation

New documents released today show that Tony Blair’s Iraq envoy, Sir Jeremy Greenstock, lobbied the Iraqi prime minister on behalf of BP just three months after leaving Iraq. On joining BP as special adviser in June 2004, Greenstock was ordered by the Advisory Committee on Business Appointments not visit Iraq on business, nor have dealings with companies there, for six months [1]. Just three months later however, he met Iraqi Prime Minister Ayad Allawi on BP business in London [2]. The meeting was also attended by then BP chief executive Lord Browne.

Greenstock, who as UK Ambassador to the United Nations had made the case for war in 2002, served as UK Special Representative to Iraq from September 2003 to June 2004.

At the September 2004 meeting, the BP team including Greenstock are believed to have pushed for a contract to study the Rumaila field near Basra, Iraq’s largest oilfield. Documents released today also reveal that in August 2004 UK Ambassador Edward Chaplin lobbied the Iraqi Oil Minister to award the deal to BP [3]. In January 2005, BP won the contract. The company’s subsequent studies of the field are believed to be what gave it the advantage to win a 20-year deal to manage it, at an auction in June 2009. Under the contract, BP and its partner CNPC are set to receive returns of up to $660 million per year after tax [4].

The documents were obtained under the Freedom of Information Act by Greg Muttitt, author of the book Fuel on the Fire – Oil and Politics in Occupied Iraq, which was published last month. Muttitt said:

“In June 2004, Jeremy Greenstock dealt with Iraqi politicians as Tony Blair’s envoy, while nearly 9,000 British troops occupied the country. Three months later, he met Allawi on behalf of BP. His lobbying weight so soon after leaving will have been immense, and demonstrates again how BP operates at the very heart of government. No wonder BP is doing so well out of Iraq.”

The revelations will give further weight to calls by campaigners Transparency International in a report on Tuesday for replacing the Advisory Committee on Business Appointments with a tougher system.

Muttitt added:

“The ruling that Greenstock could not do business within Iraq shows up how limp the regulatory system is. All business at the time was being done outside Iraq, for security reasons. And the Committee must have known that BP’s most important business dealings are with governments, not other companies. The Committee allowed Greenstock to comply with the letter of its ruling, while abusing his previous position in exactly the way the Committee was supposed to prevent.”

Greenstock twice gave evidence to the Iraq Inquiry chaired by Sir John Chilcot, but was not quizzed on his BP role.

1: “Normal three months wait period and the condition that, for six months from his last day in post, he should not revisit Iraq for business purposes or have dealings with companies there June 2004”. p.26 (p.28 of pdf)

2: UK government email exchanges, 29 September 2004, obtained under FOIA and released today at

3: Email exchanges between UK Ambassador Edward Chaplin and Tony Renton of BP, August/September 2004, obtained under FOIA and released today at

4: $2 per barrel, less 25% to state partner and 35% corporate income tax, leaving $0.975 per barrel. At peak, incremental production is targeted at 1.85 million barrels per day, hence $658m per year. See Fuel on the Fire, p.327


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