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Archived Articles on Oil in Iraq


Oil in Iraq


2006 | 2005 | 2004 | 2003 | 2002 | 2000

Will Iraq's Oil Become a Curse? (December 22, 2006)

Foreign oil companies continue to pressure the fragmented Iraqi government into handing over control of the country's vast oil sector "at a time when the Iraqi people are seeking to determine their own future while still under conditions of occupation." This Der Spiegel article draws attention to the murkiness surrounding the draft hydrocarbons law, which firms negotiated "behind closed doors" and with no input from those who stand to lose the most from the legislation – the Iraqi people. Though crucial for reconstruction and recovery, Iraq's oil industry may ultimately plunge the country deeper into social and economic turmoil.

The Roving Eye (December 14, 2006)

The Iraqi Parliament is scheduled to pass a new oil law, which will give foreign oil companies control of Iraq's vast oil reserves and assure them huge profits. This Asia Times article argues that the US is maintaining troops in Iraq not for security reasons, but to protect Big Oil interests. The law, drafted by an Iraqi government committee, could also contribute to the escalation of sectarian violence as it proposes to centralize oil policy with the federal government.

Iraqi Trade Union Statement on the Oil Law (December 14, 2006)

In a joint statement, trade union leaders rejected plans to "hand control" over Iraq's oil production to foreign companies "whose aim is to make big profits at the expense of the Iraqi people, and to rob the national wealth, according to long-term, unfair contracts, that undermine the sovereignty of the state and the dignity of the Iraqi people." The US has repeatedly been calling for a law to encourage foreign investment in Iraq's oil.

It's Still About Oil in Iraq (December 8, 2006)

The author of this Los Angeles Times piece argues that the US pursuit for control of oil in the Middle East continues to drive the Iraq war, citing recommendations from the Iraq Study Group as evidence. The study group has called on the US government to "assist Iraqi leaders to reorganize the national oil industry as a commercial enterprise" and to "encourage investment in Iraq's oil sector by the international community and by international energy companies." The author points out that such recommendations reflect the US government's intention to privatize Iraq's currently nationalized oil industry, giving US corporations access to "the world's second-largest known oil reserves."

Iraqi Kurds' Oil Law Poses Problem for Baghdad (November 9, 2006)

The semi-autonomous Kurdish region in northern Iraq has published the final draft of a petroleum law that, if passed, will place the provincial government at odds with the central government in Baghdad. This Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty piece warns that the division of oil reserves between Iraq's provinces may become a "source of further instability" in a country already reeling from sectarian violence. The author concludes that partitioning the country into three autonomous regions – a Kurdish north, a Shiite south and a Sunni center – would further marginalize Sunni Arabs, who would be left with a "resource-poor" area of land, devoid of any natural resources.

The US Takeover of Iraqi Oil (October 17, 2006)

The Big Four western oil giants hope to enter into Production Sharing Agreements (PSAs) with the Iraqi government to secure long-term control over the country's oil reserves. However, their share in Iraq's oil depends largely on the future of the Iraqi administration, and whether provincial governments will manage oil reserves within their region, or hand over control to the central government. As the author of this AlterNet piece concludes, Iraq and the US hold divergent views regarding Iraq's oil, with the majority of Iraqis believing that the US-led occupation was a manoeuvre to gain control of Iraqi oil.

Bush's Petro-Cartel Almost Has Iraq's Oil (October 16, 2006)

The Iraqi government must finalize a law to regulate its oil industry by December 2006. This provision in the Iraqi constitution, inserted by the occupying powers prior to handing over "sovereignty" in June 2004, could see foreign multinationals assume control of as much as 87 percent of Iraq's oil. This AlterNet piece reveals that western oil companies, who were locked out of Iraq's oil sector for 12 years due to UN sanctions, seek to pressure the Iraqi government to pull out of the Organization of the Petroleum Exporting Countries (OPEC) and deal primarily with the Big Four oil giants in the US and UK.

Will Iraq Repeat Russia's Oil Mistakes? (October 2006)

This Carbon Web article warns that, if Iraq subjects its oil reserves to Production Sharing Agreements (PSAs) with multinational oil companies, it could follow the same fate as Russia – which remains at the mercy of European oil giant Shell, among others. Author Greg Muttit reveals that Russia's PSA contracts "were signed when the country was in a weak position," giving the multinationals unreasonably favorable terms. Muttit criticizes the current draft Iraqi oil law – drawn up by the US government and international oil giants – for its lack of input from the Iraqi parliament and the Iraqi people.

Turning Eastward for Oil Contracts (September 27, 2006)

Iraqi Oil Minister Hussain al-Shahristani has announced his intention to discuss oil projects with China, Japan and Australia – a move that could shut out US oil giants from profitable post-war contracts in Iraq. The author of this Stratfor article suggests that countries such as China are more willing to send their firms into turbulent environments and do not face the same legal constraints as US firms. For reasons of "insurance, legal vulnerability and employee safety," US oil companies will hold off sending their employees into Iraq until a stable democratically elected government secures the country – a prospect that does not appear imminent.

Oil Majors Maneuver for Prime Position in Iraq (August 23, 2006)

Iraqi Oil Minister Hussain al-Shahristani has signaled that the race for oil deals worth US$20 billion could start within months. This Reuters article states that multinational companies have already started "maneuvering intently to win a stake in their oilfield of choice." Representatives from Shell, Exxon Mobil, BP, Total and Chevron have met with government officials to gain an edge over rival bidders when Iraq finally opens to investment. Such behind-the-scenes maneuvers have many critics worried that the final outcome will put Iraq's oil in the hands of the big Western companies.

George's Oil Dubya-Speak (August 21, 2006)

This Carbon Web article looks at the Iraqi Oil Ministry plan to draft legislation governing the country's oil industry. Oil Minister Hussain al-Shahristani has requested comments and amendments from the US government, multinational oil companies and the IMF on the proposed hydrocarbon law which will privatize the energy sector and allow for greater foreign investment. US and Iraqi officials have excluded Iraqi civil society from participating in the process, since "most Iraqis consider oil a national asset which should remain in the public sector."

Iraq to Talk with Big Oil Companies in 2 Months (August 2, 2006)

Iraq's Oil Minister Hussain al-Shahristani has signalled he will begin talks with major companies to develop the country's oilfields. Al-Shahristani said he has already met with officials from US and European oil giants during a visit to Washington. Many worry that such negotiations will conclude before the completion of an important hydrocarbon law, governing the country's huge oil sector. Any oil contracts signed prematurely will have a major bearing on Iraq's economy and politics for decades to come. (Reuters)

Iraqi Unions Kept Away from Oil Legislation (August 1, 2006)

As the Iraqi Oil Minister prepares to draft legislation governing the country's huge oil sector, Niqash highlights the importance of involving unions. Since the US-led invasion of 2003, oil sector unions "have not enjoyed their legitimate rights," despite representing 70% of the labor force. As the author concludes, oil unions must participate "in political decisions relating to investment," and in the boards of directors of oil production companies in order to secure sufficient protection for workers.

Of Oil, War and Power – Learning From History (July 10, 2006)

This article warns against Iraq signing contracts with multinational oil companies before the restoration of full sovereignty and stability. Such contracts "could last for several decades" and would affect Iraq's "economy, development and politics." Looking at the history of such deal-making in the oil-producing world, author Greg Muttitt concludes that the Iraqi government should not make any moves until the end of the US-led occupation to ensure it "obtains a fair deal on its own terms." (Niqash)

BHP "Wanted Rifkind to Lobby US for Iraq Oil" (July 5, 2006)

BHP Billiton, the world's largest mining company, attempted to land a lucrative oil contract in Iraq just weeks after the outbreak of war in 2003. According to an Australian Royal Commission inquiry, the Anglo-Australian group held secret meetings in May 2003 to discuss lobbying US Vice President Dick Cheney for control of the Halfaya oil field in southern Iraq. The Independent describes the findings as "the most blatant evidence to so far emerge about Western businesses jockeying for a slice of Iraq's oil wealth."

Oil Privatisation by the Back Door (June 26, 2006)

Iraq's Oil Minister plans to enable the Iraqi government to sign "production sharing agreements" (PSA) with Western oil companies. Such agreements give the appearance of state sovereignty over natural resources, while in fact handing it over to foreign companies. Author Greg Muttitt argues that PSAs will negatively affect Iraqi employment and human rights and "sow the seeds of economic and political difficulties for years to come." (Niqash)

For Whom, the Wells Drilled? (June 21, 2006)

Iraqi-run website Niqash looks at the debate over the control of Iraq's oil sector, in particular the issues of federalism and privatization. Kurds oppose amending the oil-related articles of the Constitution, and call for greater regional autonomy. Others fear that too much decentralization could lead to "an uncoordinated and bureaucratic system." In addition, greater regional autonomy could end up transferring power - and more of Iraq's oil wealth "from public to private sector, and from Iraqis to foreign companies."

The Black Gold Rush (June 15, 2006)

Iraqi Oil Minister Husayn al-Sharistani has announced a plan to draft legislation governing Iraq's oil sector within two months. The oil law will deal with potentially divisive issues of federalism and privatization – issues that could both "redraw the map and rewrite the history of Iraq." Author Greg Muttitt argues that the Oil Ministry should request and consider the views of political parties, civil society groups, experts and trade unions before deciding on the future shape of Iraq's oil industry. (Niqash)

Oil Prospecting In Kurdish-Administered North Intensifies (May 12, 2006)

While Baghdad negotiates a controversial national oil law, the Kurdish-administered northern region has signed numerous exploration and production contracts with foreign oil companies. Norwegian firm DNO has discovered new reserves, outside of Iraq's two main fields, and plans to begin production. Though the majors have been waiting for Baghdad to pass a national oil law, smaller firms such as DNO have eagerly signed contracts in the relatively peaceful Kurdish north. (Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty)

USAID Provides Adviser to Iraq Govt on Oil Law -Spokesman (April 28, 2006)

With the Iraqi government preparing to draft the country's petroleum law, the US Agency for International Development (USAID) has sent a "petroleum adviser" to Iraq to help formulate oil- and energy-related legislation. The US government has emphasized foreign participation as the best way to develop Iraq's oil industry, and through its contract with the consultancy BearingPoint, USAID will "provide advice" on incorporating foreign investment in Iraq's petroleum law. Oil majors, such as Royal Dutch Shell, are eager to gain access to Iraqi oil and have approached the oil ministry about exploration and production contracts. (Dow Jones Newswires)

Iraq's Kurds Aim for Own Oil Ministry (April 19, 2006)

Kurdish leaders have begun making plans to create a Ministry of Natural Resources within the semi-autonomous Kurdish parliament. The Ministry would control oil and natural gas in three Kurdish provinces of northern Iraq, where officials have already contracted a Norwegian energy company to survey and drill for oil. Though the move does not violate Iraq's constitution, officials in Baghdad worry that the de-centralization of oil revenues and control may further weaken Iraq's national government. (Los Angeles Times)

Further Steps toward Long-Term Oil Contracts (April 2006)

In January 2005, conveniently after the December elections but before the appointment of a new Iraqi government, the International Monetary Fund (IMF) agreed to cancel 30% of Iraq's debt in exchange for Iraqi compliance with IMF conditioned economic policies. Nestled in the fine print, the agreement forces Iraq to pass an oil law by the end of 2006 and allow the IMF to help draft the law. With little public oversight or discussion, Iraq's Oil Ministry has begun negotiating with multinational oil firms, and may soon sign long-term production sharing agreements as part of the IMF-mandated oil law. Studies indicate that Iraq could lose up to US$ 200 billion in revenue from the deals, and Iraqi trade unions have unanimously opposed the foreign control of Iraqi oil. (Carbon Web)

Abizaid Says US May Want to Keep Bases in Iraq (March 15, 2006)

US General John Abizaid announced that Washington may seek to maintain a long-term military presence in Iraq. Along with security concerns, Abizaid referenced Iraqi oil as a justification for permanent bases, noting that "the prosperity of [the US] and everybody else in the world depend[s]" on the "free flow of goods and resources" from Iraq. (Reuters)

Speech Delivered at the International Peace Conference (January 11, 2006)

In this speech, Hassan Jumaa Awad, President of the General Union of Oil Employees in Basra, outlines the Iraqi labor movement's opposition to foreign occupation and US plans for privatizing and controlling Iraqi oil. Despite the incursions of firms like Halliburton, the Iraqi labor movement has fought to maintain public control over Iraqi natural resources while striving for economic justice and a united and democratic Iraqi society.

The Last Word: Noam Chomsky (January 9, 2006)

In an interview with Newsweek, Professor Noam Chomsky discusses the relationship between Iraqi oil and the US occupation. The US would not have "liberated" Iraq, Chomsky argues, if Iraq's main products were pickles and lettuce instead of oil. By invading Iraq, the US sought to control Iraqi oil and gain "critical leverage" over its competitors


2006 | 2005 | 2004 | 2003 | 2002 | 2000

Iraqis Pummeled at the Pumps (December 28, 2005)

Since the December 15 parliamentary elections, the price of fuel in Iraq has increased significantly. As part of an International Monetary Fund debt-forgiveness plan, the Iraqi government has cut fuel subsidies, including those for both cooking and heating gas, and initiated economic reforms that have prompted rioting and threaten millions of poor Iraqis. Following years of economic sanctions and the ongoing US occupation, the removal of subsidies will contribute to instability and compound Iraq's economic woes. (Los Angeles Times)

Kurdish Oil Deal Shocks Iraq's Political Leaders (December 1, 2005)

The Kurdistan Democratic Party has signed a deal with Norwegian oil firm DNO over new oil exploration and drilling in the semi-autonomous Kurdish region of Iraq. The agreement, one of the first of its kind since the US-led invasion in 2003, was made without the involvement of Iraq's central government. Given Iraq's sectarian tensions and ambiguous constitution, the deal highlights the potential controversies between the regional and central governments over energy policy and oil control. (Los Angeles Times)

Iraq: Unified by Oil? (October 14, 2005)

Oil may be the key to Iraqi unity. Article 109 of the Iraqi constitution declares that oil belongs to "all the Iraqi people in all the regions and provinces." Tamara Chalabi of openDemocracy discusses how the democratization of oil revenues would give Iraqi citizens a direct stake in Iraq's oil industry, helping to unify the country while fortifying democratic institutions and stimulating the economy.

Coalition Warships Safeguard Iraq's Precious Oil Terminals (October 12, 2005)

Australian, British, and US warships constantly patrol the waters off the Iraqi oil terminals in Basra and Khor al-Amaya. With the world's second largest proven oil-reserves, Iraq plays a significant role in international crude markets. Given the stakes, US Captain Hank Miranda says, "I don't think we will ever leave. We'll always have ships here." (Agence France Presse)

What Is Happening to Iraqi Oil? (October 10, 2005)

In this transcript of a lecture given at the 2005 International Oil & Money Conference, former Iraqi Oil Minister Issam Al-Chalabi outlines the history of oil in Iraq and prospects for the future. Given the dilapidated state of Iraq's oil infrastructure and potential conflicts relating to Iraq's constitution, Issam Al-Chalabi predicts that oil production will remain at 1.8-2 million barrels per day (mbd) for several years. Not until 2009 and 2012 respectively will production reach 3.5 mbd and 6 mbd. (Middle East Economic Survey)

Iraq Constitution Lays Ground for Oilfield Sell-Off (October 1, 2005)

Despite noisy debates over Iraq's draft constitution, references in the document to Iraq's oil resources have evaded public comment. The interim government is already going ahead with a plan in which the state-owned Iraq National Oil Company (INOC) may only develop oil-fields that are already in production. Development of all other oil fields, the constitution specifies, should follow "modern techniques" and "market principles," a code for Production Sharing Agreements with major firms such as BP, Chevron and ExxonMobil. At estimated reserve levels, that leaves 64% of Iraq's oil open to foreign companies, casting a shadow on Iraq's sovereignty and economic viability. (Carbon Web)

Heritage Oil Signs Agreement for Kurdistan, Iraq Field Study (September 28, 2005)

Heritage Oil Corporation, a Canadian firm, has entered negotiations with the Government of the Autonomous Region of Kurdistan to do exploration field studies near the Taq Taq oil field in Northern Iraq. The current arrangement, labeled a Memorandum of Understanding, may lead to a formalized Production Sharing Agreement. If so, Heritage would become the first private oil firm to produce oil in Iraq since the 1970s. The CEO of Heritage Oil is Micael Gulbenkian, great-nephew of Calouste Gulbenkian, founder of the company that dominated Iraq's oil industry for more than half a century. (CNW Telbec)

Missteps Hamper Iraqi Oil Recovery (September 26, 2005)

Poor coordination between US and Iraqi government officials and KBR, a Halliburton subsidiary that was given a no-bid contract after the war, has led to numerous oil reconstruction failures. Engineering mistakes and poor leadership have cost Iraq hundreds of millions of dollars in lost oil production, while threatening the future of some oil fields. This foregone revenue has proven costly to Iraqi reconstruction efforts, as out-put remains below pre-war levels. (Los Angeles Times)

More Blood, Less Oil (September 21, 2005)

Despite US efforts to protect Iraq's oil infrastructure in the hopes that oil revenues would pay for the war and the occupation, Iraqi insurgent have sabotaged pipelines and refineries. In addition, persistent corruption in the Oil Ministry and sectarian tensions over the future allocation of oil revenues have threatened Iraq's long-term oil productivity. Still, Washington continues to believe in the efficacy of military force as a tool for securing access to foreign sources of petroleum. (TomDispatch)

Bush Gives New Reason for Iraq War (August 31, 2005)

US President George W. Bush has given yet another justification for the US-led invasion of Iraq: the "protection of [Iraq's] vast oil fields." This announcement comes amid continued violence in Iraq and increasing disapproval of the war within the US. (Associated Press)

Iraqi Kurds Demand Say over Northern Oilfields (July 29, 2005)

According to the Kurdish Iraqi Planning Minister, provincial governments should wield more control over their regions' oilfields. He said that Iraqi central government management of the oil sector leads to the "unjust distribution of wealth and resources." Kurds are lobbying the Iraqi constitutional drafting committee for such a devolution, which would allow the provinces to deal directly with foreign oil companies, and would give more power to Kurdish and Shiite provincial leaders. (Reuters)

Oil and Blood (July 28, 2005)

New York Times columnist Bob Herbert argues that the US has no immediate plans to withdraw troops from Iraq. He says that despite the Bush administration's numerous and ever-changing justifications for the war, the real reason behind the invasion "was to establish a long-term military presence in Iraq to ensure American domination of the Middle East and its precious oil reserves." No matter how badly the war goes, then, the US will continue the occupation, to ensure its hold of Iraq's vast oil riches.

Iraq's Untold Story (July 26, 2005)

Iraq is evolving into a "key battleground" against the expansion of western oil firms. Rebuilding efforts have been demanding, as looters, undeterred by US and British troops, destroyed much of Iraq's publicly owned oil industry. Although faced with an Oil Minister aligned with foreign private interests, and the possibility of a constitution that allows for oil privatization, Iraqi oilworkers have been working hard to protect the country's valuable resources. (Carbon Web)

Why Iraq Oil Money Hasn't Fueled Rebuilding (July 14, 2005)

Although oil prices are at an all-time high, very little of Iraq's oil revenue finances the country's rebuilding. Analysts say that petroleum smuggling and theft are on the increase, siphoning profits from reconstruction projects. They also blame insurgent attacks on pipelines and power plants for decreased production, and criticize the Iraqi government for not investing enough money to update the country's antiquated infrastructure. (Christian Science Monitor)

Deciding the Future of Iraq's Oil Wealth (July 12, 2005)

The Open Society Institute and the London School of Economics organized a conference to discuss the management of Iraq's oil wealth. Participants discussed many subjects, including the need for a transparent and accountable management of the profits, recalling the Coalition Provisional Authority's "lax accounting" procedures. The chief economist at Iraq's Finance Ministry also presented a controversial plan to remove subsidies on domestic fuel consumption, saying that the current low price of gasoline encourages smuggling. (ISN Security Watch)

Iraqi Oil Wealth: Issues of Governance and Development (July 2005)

This report, a joint effort between the London School of Economics and the Open Society Institute, contains policy recommendations for the future development and management of Iraq's oil sector. It advocates an equitable, accountable and transparent distribution of Iraq's oil wealth, and puts forward ideas on what Iraq should do to repair its damaged infrastructure. (Open Society Institute)

Iraq Oil Sales Concern Security Council (June 20, 2005)

Members of the United Nations Security Council "expressed concern over Iraq's handling of oil sales" in the period after the handover of power from the Coalition Provisional Authority to Iraq's interim government. The move came in reaction to an audit by accounting firm KPMG, which found that "Iraq's interim government mishandled about $100 million in oil money meant for development." (Associated Press)

Iraq's Other Resistance (June 3, 2005)

Iraqi oil workers, who in 2004 formed the General Union of Oil Employees (GUOE), oppose the privatization of Iraq's oil industry. Though "plans are now afoot for sweeping changes to Iraq's oil sector, to give western oil majors access to its reserves," those oil companies will face challenges from Iraq's own oil industry. The author cites the example of an oil union strike in 2003 that stopped all production in southern Iraq for two days, which enabled the unions to successfully push for the replacement of foreign workers with Iraqis, reducing the involvement of US companies in reconstruction, and increased wages. (Guardian)

Protecting the Future: Constitutional Safeguards for Iraq's Oil (May 2005)

To protect its oil revenues from future abuse, Iraq should enshrine laws governing the management of natural resources in its constitution. Iraq Revenue Watch recommends that the constitution "guarantee a transparent and accountable budgetary process" as well as "address the equitable distribution of oil revenues" by giving local government officials the right to participate in oil negotations in their region.

Blood for Oil? (April 21, 2005)

A group of writers examines the notion that the US invaded Iraq for its oil. They conclude that "the invasion of Iraq was about Chevron and Texaco, but it was also about Bechtel, Kellogg, Brown and Root, Chase Manhattan, Enron, Global Crossing, BCCI and DynCorp," referring to the opening of Iraqi markets to US corporations. (London Review of Books)

Corruption Draining Oil Industry (April 20, 2005)

While the media devotes much attention to poor security as the cause for Iraq's "disappointing" oil exports, corruption also plays a major role. The Iraqi oil ministry has fired "more than 450 employees suspected of selling fuel on the black market," and smuggling operations in parts of Iraq take place in plain view of the authorities, prompting Iraqis to ask "whether or not smuggling of petrol is a legitimate act." (Institute for War & Peace Reporting)

Iraq's Oilworkers Will Defend the Country's Oil (April 5, 2005)

Iraqi labor leader Hassan Juma'a Awad, in a conversation with truthout, talks about the challenges facing oil workers under the occupation. "We fear that the purpose of the occupation is to take control of the oil industry," he says. Workers have confronted the occupation authorities, demanding – and getting – higher pay for their labor. Awad also says that oil workers "don't want a new colonization under the guise of privatization, with international companies taking control of the oil."

Control of Oil Ministry Divides Factions in Iraq (March 25, 2005)

The two groups that emerged victorious in Iraq's January elections -- the Shiites and the Kurds -- have agreed on who should occupy the posts of Prime Minister and President in the new government. Both, however, want control of the Oil Ministry, a powerful post given that "95% of the country is the oil business." Keen on stability above all else, foreign oil companies want the current head of the ministry to stay. But as a member of Interim Prime Minister Ayad Alawi's party, that appears unlikely. (Wall Street Journal)

Mapping the Oil Motive (March 18, 2005)

Michael T. Klare writes that the Bush administration's choice to invade Iraq stemmed from "a combination of contributing factors," including control of the country's oil resources. But "it appears that the US incursion into Iraq [. . .] has largely failed to achieve its intended purposes." The insurgency has crippled the country's capacity to export more oil, and "no one is willing to predict when, if ever, the country will reach the fabled level of 6 million barrels per day" that US officials confidently spoke of after the invasion. (TomPaine)

Secret US Plans for Iraq's Oil (March 17, 2005)

BBC Newsnight reveals that the Bush administration made plans for the Iraq war and the country's oil "within weeks" of taking office in 2001. The investigation uncovered two conflicting plans: one developed by "Big Oil" executives in conjunction with the US State Department , and another, drafted just before the 2003 invasion of Iraq, by neo-conservatives at the Pentagon. The latter involved a sell-off of all of Iraq's oil fields, which an Iraqi-born oil consultant said "helped instigate the insurgency."

Oil Companies Hopeful on Iraqi Politics (March 14, 2005)

Oil companies intently await the formation of a new Iraqi government and the adoption of a new constitution, which would pave the way for sought-after long-term oil exploitation contracts. According to former Iraqi Oil Minister Issam Chalabi, some 20 companies from several countries have offered Iraq's interim government "favors" such as oil personnel training or free geological studies, though Iraqi oil officials expect major US companies to win the "lion's share" of contracts. (Associated Press)

Derelict Plants Are Crippling Iraq's Petroleum Industry (March 3, 2005)

With the country's petroleum infrastructure crumbling, Iraqi oil officials must choose between making costly repairs to increase oil output or using existing wells, pipelines and refineries for as long as possible. But because funds for modernizing oil infrastructure must come from oil revenues, the pumping continues, even though much of the outdated technology constitutes a safety and environmental hazard. Despite having the world second largest oil reserves, Iraq imports half of its gasoline. (New York Times)

Seeking Iraq's Oil Prize Government May Allow Foreign Petroleum Firms to Invest ( January 26, 2005)

In an effort to establish good relations with the new post-election Iraqi government, US and European oil companies are working for free on certain projects with the Iraqi oil ministry to "get their feet in the door." Although these companies remain very cautious about committing themselves to a country where violent attacks remain an everyday occurrence, Iraq's vast oil reserves - possibly the second or third largest in the world - make for a prize too tempting to pass up. (San Francisco Chronicle)

Iraqi Oil and Tony Blair's Absurd Conspiracy Theory (January 2005)

Tony Blair has called the notion that control of Iraqi oil was the major reason for the 2003 invasion "one of the most absurd conspiracy theories ever." But while this article allows for "other factors," the author provides several examples of the preeminent role of Iraqi oil before, during and after the war. (Red Pepper)


2006 | 2005 | 2004 | 2003 | 2002 | 2000

History Will Show US Lusted After Oil (December 26, 2004)

In this Toronto Star article, Linda McQuaig counters critics who dismiss the argument that oil served as the main motivation to go to war in Iraq. Well aware of their dependence on foreign resources, US policymakers have wanted control of Middle Eastern oilfields for decades. According to McQuaig, mainstream media allow politicians to "disguise what they're really up to" and ten years from now "it will all probably seem fairly obvious."

Irish Company Hit by Iraqi Report (December 16, 2004)

Following a report that Irish oil company Petrel Resources failed to win a contract in Iraq, shares in the company were reduced to less than half of their original value. According to Reuters, the Iraqi Oil Ministry awarded its first contracts to Turkey's Everasia and the Canadian Ironhorse Oil and Gas. Both companies will develop Iraq's oil fields in hopes to double the country's output by the end of the decade. (BBC)

Iraq's Allawi Due in Russia for Oil and Debt Talks (December 6, 2004)

In their first meeting, Russian President Vladimir Putin and Iraqi Interim Prime Minister Iyad Allawi will discuss the possibility of "expanding Russia's involvement in post-crisis Iraq." Russia opposed the US-led war on Iraq partly in fear of losing its oil contracts and large firms such as LUKoil are now trying to win back Iraqi oil. US major ConocoPhillips signed an agreement with LUKoil that it would "push the Russians' interests in the Iraqi oil industry." (Daily Star-Lebanon)

Iraq Tries to Escape Middle East Oil Curse (November 23, 2004)

This article argues that countries with vast natural resources like Iraq need to break away from the "Middle East oil model." An economy based largely on oil exports and controlled by an unaccountable ruling elite discourages initiative and ultimately negates democracy. (

Big Oil Companies Train Iraqi Workers Free (November 6, 2004)

Large oil companies from the US, the UK and Russia are paying for Iraqi oil workers' training in an attempt to "generate goodwill" and gain access to Iraqi oil reserves. Iraq's high quality oil is cheap to produce and foreign investors are keen to build relationships with future Iraqi government officials. (Washington Post)

Iraq Says 'Come and Get Us' to Western Oil Companies (October 17, 2004)

The Iraqi Interim Government believes it can double oil production by 2010, but only with the help of Western oil companies. Iraqi Oil Minister Thamer Ghadban has invited the world's largest oil companies to exploit the country's reserves. Although they recognize that "Iraq does offer opportunities," oil giants are currently reluctant to invest in Iraq because of the security situation. (Independent)

The Oil that Drives the US Military (October 9, 2004)

This article, based on Michael T. Klare's book Blood and Oil: The Dangers and Consequences of America's Growing Petroleum Dependency, discusses the crucial importance of Iraq's petroleum infrastructure as an economic basis for a stable Iraqi government. The significant amount of US soldiers in the Persian Gulf, the Arabian Sea and the South China Sea safeguarding vulnerable oil installations in conflict-prone areas, reflects Washington's dependence on imported petroleum. (TomDispatch)

Outside View Oil Serves But Also Burns Us (October 5, 2004)

When the neoconservatives pushed for war in Iraq they had hoped to privatize Iraq's oil industry and double production with the help of US oil companies. The insurgency's continuing attacks on pipelines and oil fields have instead shattered US dreams of controlling Iraqi oil and have resulted in a collapsed Iraqi oil industry, depriving an "oil-hungry world of an average of two million barrels a day." (Gulf News)

Crude Dudes (September 20, 2004)

This excerpt from a new book by Canadian journalist Linda McQuaig argues that Washington made war in 2003 to control Iraq's vast oil reserves and privatize the region's oil production. The author provides details from an interview with Wall Street oil analyst Fadil Gheit and fresh analysis of the secret Cheney energy task force. As oil prices climb and battles over resources sharpen, McQuaig's well-written and freshly-researched piece is especially timely.(Toronto Star)

America's Achilles' Heel (August 16, 2004)

Daily acts of sabotage on oil pipelines and threats against production facilities imperil Iraq's oil industry, forcing a halt in exports costing the Government potential revenues of nearly $50 million per day. Insurgents understand that disrupting the flow of oil not only stifles Iraq's economic recovery, but also undermines Iraq's Interim Government and occupation forces, achieving its ultimate goal. (

Iraq Surveys Its Oil Fields as Prices Keep Bubbling (August 4, 2004)

Iraq's Ministry of Oil announced plans to assess the potential output of the Rumaila oil fields in the south and the Kirkuk oil fields in the north. The study will also determine the best recovery and production methods. Iraq is accepting bids from dozens of foreign energy firms to complete the study, but have disqualified US giant Halliburton from competing for the contracts. (New York Times)

System to Track Iraq Oil May Take Months (July 27, 2004)

International Advisory and Monitoring Board Chairman Jean-Pierre Halbwachs contends that the Iraqi authorities lack a functioning "metering" system to track oil production in the country. Halbwachs predicts that resolving the metering problem requires at least 18 months. One wonders how the CPA accounted for oil production and exports before ceding power to Iraq's Interim Government on June 28, 2004. (Associated Press)

Iraqis Fail to Regain Control of Oil Revenue (May 24, 2004)

Iraqi officials came to New York seeking UN support to regain control of oil contracts and revenues from the CPA. Al-Jazeera argues that the CPA's handling of contract disbursements are not transparent, claiming they have "imposed secrecy on oil deals, exportation, and use of revenues."

Washington Fails to Realign Oil Business (April 22, 2004)

Inter Press Service argues that the Bush administration sacrificed its goals of securing access to steady and inexpensive oil supplies as well as decreasing OPEC's influence on world oil prices by overthrowing the Saddam Hussein regime. To date, Iraq's oil output is still below its pre-war level.

UN Set to Probe Fraud Allegations in Iraq Program (March 16, 2004)

Ahmad Chalabi, member of Iraq's Governing Council, alleges the Saddam Hussein regime diverted nearly $2 billion from the UN oil-for-food program to personal accounts. To date, no evidence has been offered to support the charges. (Reuters)

Hussein's Regime Skimmed Billions From Aid Program (February 29, 2004)

Revelations alleging illegal trade of oil between Iraq and foreign investors since 2000, violating UN-imposed economic sanctions resulted in large profits for the Saddam Hussein regime. The New York Times reports that it was common practice for countries to pay a "10 percent kickback" to the Iraqi government in exchange for oil at below market prices.

Watchdog Presses US to Appoint Oil Auditors (February 14, 2004)

Yielding to the requests of the International Advisory and Monitoring Board, the US-lead Coalition Provisional Authority (CPA) will appoint an independent auditing firm to monitor Iraqi oil sales and spending from the Development Fund for Iraq (DFI). (Reuters)

Switzerland Investigates Trading Companies That Profited from Saddam Hussein's Oil (January 31, 2004)

The Iraqi Oil Ministry suspects eleven Swiss oil companies of breaching UN sanctions by offering bribes to the Saddam Hussein Regime in exchange for oil contracts in Iraq. Le Monde argues that Switzerland is "at the heart of a contraband system… put in place to bypass the embargo imposed by the UN in 1990."

Japan Stakes its Claim to Iraqi Oil and Gas (January 26, 2004)

By dispatching Japanese troops to Iraq, Tokyo may be seeking to regain the lucrative oil exploration contracts it lost at the outset of the first Gulf War. Japan, who relies heavily on Middle East oil imports, is also actively seeking contracts in Iran, the second of three countries on the US "axis of evil." (World Socialist WS)


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Saboteurs, Looters and Old Equipment Work Against Efforts to Restart Iraqi Oil Fields (December 14, 2003)

The Kirkuk oil fields in Iraq can potentially produce up to 700,000 barrels of oil per day. Yet in the post-war period, its production capabilities suffer from frequent power outages, a lack of spare parts and other problems. Iraqis wonder when they will get more than paperwork and empty promises from Halliburton. (New York Times)

Oil Experts See Long-Term Risks to Iraq Reserves (November 30, 2003)

Oil reservoirs in Iraq are poorly maintained because of previous UN economic sanctions and longstanding policies for consistently high production. The New York Times reports that underground maintenance is imperative to prevent irreversible damage and ensure long-term reserve productivity.

Oil Immunity? (October 30, 2003)

The Center for Public Integrity examines the details of an Executive Order (EO) issued by US President George Bush about the Development Fund for Iraq. The EO is so conciliatory toward US oil firms that one analyst calls it "a blank check for corporate anarchy."

Looting Iraq by Executive Order (October 25, 2003)

Many critics focus solely on the missing billions of dollars from the Development Fund for Iraq, but ZNet sees the problem as one component in a sinister pattern. On the first day of the Fund's existence, US President George Bush issued an Executive Order that seems to formalize "crony capitalism" in Iraq by substantially protecting US oil corporations.

Amid Ruins of Iraqi Oil Wells, Investors See Field of Riches (October 24, 2003)

Executives of large international oil firms bemoan the poor security situation in Iraq, and the crumbling infrastructure of its oil industry. Yet they look forward to returning, for the vast oil reserves and a receptive business climate they enjoyed in years past. (New York Times)

Oil, War and Panic (October 1, 2003)

US domestic oil deposits are dwindling. Iraqi oil comprises a quarter of global reserves. Robert Fisk wryly remarks, "Don't tell me the US would have invaded Iraq if its chief export was beetroot." (Independent)

Iraq Contacts European Oil Firms (September 29, 2003)

Several European oil firms want to establish a foothold in Iraq's oil industry. The Iraqi Governing Council courts these firms in anticipation of short- and medium-term projects that could inject $2 billion into the cash-strapped industry. (Reuters)

Control of Oil Revenues (September 2003)

The Iraq oil industry is in a perilous condition between potential US control through the Development Fund for Iraq and daily acts of sabotage on oil pipelines. Some of the Bush administration's pre-war predictions stand in sharp contrast to the realities of the post-war era. (Foreign Policy in Focus)

Immunity for Iraqi Oil Dealings Raises Alarm (August 7, 2003)

President Bush's Executive Order 13303 has raised serious concerns that US oil companies may have been handed blanket immunity from lawsuits and criminal prosecution in connection with the sale of Iraqi oil. (Los Angeles Times)

Iraq's Oil Booty Will Only Pay Part of Rebuilding Costs (August 7, 2003)

The security situation in post-war Iraq delays the oil industry's recovery. This leaves the US and other countries to foot a bigger bill than expected in reconstructing Iraq. (Christian Science Monitor)

Bush's Oil Move Backfires (August 5, 2003)

The Guardian argues that the goal of the Bush administration in the War against Iraq was to gain access to the world's second largest oil reserves thus challenging Saudi Arabia's influence on petrol prices. However, Washington's plans have encountered serious setbacks due to unanticipated resistance and low Iraqi oil production.

Operation Oily Immunity (July 24, 2003)

Energy analysts argue that the Bush administration moved quickly to ensure US corporate control over Iraqi resources. They see the first step of this process as the creation of the Iraqi Development Fund, which will act to leverage US government-backed loans, and direct financing for the US corporate invasion of Iraq. (AlterNet)

Corporate Slush Funds for Baghdad: Plugging Iraq into Globalization (July 22, 2003)

The US plans to use Iraq's oil wealth as collateral to secure loans from the World Bank and other donors. While the Bush Administration claims such maneuvers are necessary to rebuild the country, critics believe the scheme will make Iraq dependent on international financial institutions and force it to adopt their neo-liberal policies. (CounterPunch)

Cheney Task Force Eyed on Iraq Oil (July 18, 2003)

According to documents obtained by Judicial Watch, Vice President Dick Cheney's energy task force was interested in Iraq's oil industry in early 2001. The documents prove Cheney's interest in specific foreign companies pursuing business in Iraq. The documents also contain detailed maps of Iraq's oil fields, terminals and pipelines. (Associated Press)

Dire States (July 17, 2003)

While the Bush administration has not concerned itself with world opinion, US companies are worried that Washington's foreign policy will inflame anti-Americanism and damage US exports. (Independent)

Just a Dribble of Oil Exports as Iraq Struggles (July 16, 2003)

Oil industry experts say that Iraq plans to export only 8 million barrels of oil in the month of July, a small fraction of its prewar output. This further exemplifies troubles facing Iraq's once mighty oil industry. (New York Times)

Pipe Dreams of Iraqi Oil (July 13, 2003)

The Occupying Powers claim that future proceeds from oil will directly benefit the people of Iraq. However, experts predict oil revenues will come in below the costs of reconstruction. (Observer)

Net Assessment: New Equilibrium for Oil Markets (July 11, 2003)

This detailed economic study of the international oil market weighs the potential effects the war against Iraq has had on the world oil markets. The study argues that two primary themes will drive oil markets in 2004: OPEC's ability to manage the return of Iraqi oil to the market, and the US economic recovery. (Stratfor)

US May Tap Oil for Iraqi Loans (July 11, 2003)

Realizing that Iraq may face a possible cash flow crisis as reconstruction costs rise, the US is considering pledging Iraq's future oil revenue to finance long-term reconstruction. The proposal has sparked a heated debate, as a new Iraqi government will not be in place to sign off on the plan. (Los Angeles Times)

What Are Americans Dying for Now? (June 18, 2003)

Oil is a precious commodity for which the US government will sacrifice its citizens. Oil represents the real reason for why the Bush administration went to war. This conclusion becomes increasingly apparent as US soldiers continue to die at a growing rate. (Boston Globe)

Sabotage Hits Iraq Pipeline as US Prepares to Resume Exports (June 13, 2003)

Iraqis attacked an oil pipeline in the northern oilfields on the same day the US awarded its first post-war oil exporting contracts. The attackers allegedly wanted to prevent the US from exporting Iraqi oil to Turkey. (Agence France Presse)

Looting Leaves Iraq's Oil Industry in Ruins (June 10, 2003)

The New York Times reports that despite all of the US' promises to rebuild Iraq's oil industry, problems of looting, sabotage and the lack of security at facilities continue.

Just What Does America Want to Do With Iraq's Oil? (June 8, 2003)

While Baghdad is over-run with crime, the US is busy marketing Iraqi oil. Some accuse Washington of neglecting the country while exploiting its oil resources. (New York Times)

It's Not So Funny Any More DubyaCo. (May 28, 2003)

The US has assured the world that Iraqi oil will be flowing soon, but has not set any dates for when electricity, water or the rule of law will be restored through out the country. This article critically examines current US priorities in Iraq, and looks at past US interests in Iraqi oil.(Counterpunch)

New Master of Iraqi Oil Ceremonies (May 24, 2003)

After countless calls to counterparts and minor concessions to foreign governments by the US, the Security Council passed a resolution to end 13 years of sanctions against Iraq. Profit motives linked to oil lurk behind the sanctions debate, and "double and triple standards by the most verbal actors - France, Russia and the United States." (Asia Times)

Return of Iraqi Oil Faces Obstacles on Many Fronts (May 23, 2003)

Iraq faces many obstacles before it can resume a steady flow of oil to the world market. Problems range from the installation of a US-nominated advisory team of oil experts to lawlessness around the country. (Energy Intelligence)

Billionaire's Group to Monitor US Management of Iraq Oil (May 21, 2003)

Billionaire philanthropist George Soros announced that he would set up a watchdog group to guard against any abuses in how the United States manages Iraqi oil resources. (Reuters)

Oil Wars Pentagon's Policy Since 1999 (May 20, 2003)

A document emerged from the US Defense Department states that waging war for oil is a legitimate option. The document declares that if an oil problem arises, "US forces might be used to ensure adequate supplies". (Sydney Morning Herald)

Iraq Blow to Russia's Grand Oil Plan (May 19, 2003)

The Russian plan to increase oil exports to the US and become one of the world's leading oil exporters is hampered by Washington's goal to control Iraq's resources. To prevent a drop in oil prices, Russia is prepared to join other oil producing nations in OPEC and cut its exports. (Iraq War)

The Oily Americans (May 19, 2003)

This remarkable article in Time Magazine makes the case that major US oil interests were a key factor in the Iraq war. The authors show the extraordinary importance of Iraq's oil to the worldwide petroleum industry and to global geopolitical relations.

Iraq's Crude Awakening (May 19, 2003)

The United States has gone to great lengths in the past to enlarge and defend its oil interest in the Persian gulf. The CIA-organized coup in Iran in 1953 and the bloody Afghan war of the 1980s shed light on the recent war in Iraq. (Time Magazine)

Defense Dept. Secretly Tapped Halliburton Unit To Operate Iraq's Oil Industry (May 13, 2003)

Recently obtained classified Halliburton documents confirm that the war in Iraq was largely about controlling one of the world's largest oil reserves. The company was also working with the Department of Defense to gain total control over Iraqi's oil fields. (ZNet)

The Burden of Black Gold (May 12, 2003)

Washington and London have a vision that the oil in Iraq will bring a bright future for the Iraqi people. But according to a Fuelling Poverty - Oil, War and Corruption report, countries with oil resources "end up worse off than poor nations with no natural resources to draw on." (BBC)

US, UK Waged War on Iraq Because of Oil, Blair Adviser Says (May 1, 2003)

Sir Jonathan Porritt, adviser to Prime Minister Tony Blair's government on ecological issues, stated that he does not think "the war would have happened if Iraq didn't have the second-largest oil reserves in the world." (Bloomberg)

Using Iraqi Oil For Iraq: A Gameplan (May 1, 2003)

Iraq's oil can be a valuable resource to rebuild the country. But an internal or external struggle to control the oil can cause problems and slow down the process of reintegrating Iraq into the world oil market. (World Watch Institute)

Iraqi Oil Experts Fear Second-Class Status After Return of Exiles (April 30, 2003)

The United States is reorganizing Baghdad's vital oil sector and some Iraqi officials are worried that they will be left as other experts return after years in exile. (Agence France-Presse)

The Byzantine Beginnings: The Reign of a Monopoly (April 26, 2003)

The Turkish Petroleum Company's (TPC) creation by the UK aimed at seeking concessions to explore for Iraqi oil, to eliminate rivalry among TPC's partners and to compete with US oil companies. This paper examines the history of Iraq's oil industry from World War I to 1972 and assesses the "winners and losers" of the Iraq oil game. (Global Policy Forum)

American To Oversee Iraqi Oil Industry (April 26, 2003)

The US is preparing to install Philip Carroll as the chairman for the management of Iraq's oil. He is the former chief executive of the US division of Royal Dutch/Shell. This action will anger opponents of the administration who argue that the US is wielding too much power in Iraq. (Guardian)

The Byzantine Beginnings: The Quest for Oil (April 25, 2003)

Since the discovery of oil in the Middle East in 1908, western powers have sought dominance over the region's resources. Dr. Ferruh Demirmen examines western influence in Iraq's oil industry, from the creation of the Turkish Petroleum Company in 1911 by the UK, the Netherlands and Germany to the entry of US oil giants after World War I. (Global Policy Forum)

For Iraqi Oil, a US Corporate Mold (April 25, 2003)

The US plans to structure Iraq's vast oil industry much like a corporation, with a chief executive and a management team approved by US officials who would answer to a multinational board of advisors, according to this report in the Wall Street Journal.

It's the Oil, Stupid (April 24, 2003)

US officials stated that Iraq's oil infrastructure is safely in their hands. There have also been meetings between US oil firms and representatives of the INC and other exile groups on postwar access to Iraqi oil. (Nation)

Beyond Oil (April 24-30, 2003)

According to John Sfakianakis, oil will definitely be the major component of Iraq's economy, and the question of who controls the oil and, more importantly, how its revenue is managed and distributed will reveal a great deal about the way Iraq's political economy will evolve. (Al-Ahram Weekly)

Iraq Is the X-Factor at OPEC (April 22, 2003)

According to OPEC, a new Iraq will be the beginning of a new petroleum order and its members fear that oil exports from Iraq will drive the prices down. (Los Angeles Times)

US Has No Legitimate Right to Iraqi Oil and Lifting of Sanctions Must Wait (April 20, 2003)

Eight Middle Eastern states made a joint statement on post-war Iraq, declaring that the US has no right to exploit its oil and that the Iraqi people should administer their own country. (Al-Jazeera)

Is Syria next on the US hit-list? (April 14, 2003)

The US Secretary of Defense, Donald Rumsfeld, has tried to restart an old pipeline that ran from Iraq to Israel during the mid-1980, but all attempts have failed. This article explains why the US needs a "regime change" in both Iraq and Syria. (Hindustan Times)

As Regime Crumbles, Battle for Oil Begins (April 11, 2003)

"It's their oil; it's their resources," says US Vice-President Dick Cheney, while at the same time his former company landed a £600 million contract for initial oil field repairs. A former head of Shell's US subsidiary will likely become the chief adviser to the Iraqi oil industry. "Such a US-led approach troubles some oil analysts," reports the Telegraph.

The Future of Iraq's Oil (April 11, 2003)

The lead editorial of the New York Times expresses concern about efforts to manipulate Iraq's oil for the benefit of US oil companies "rather than the benefit of the Iraqi people," though it stops short of naming the "interested parties" who might use pressure to gain long-range contracts and attempt to break the power of OPEC.

Secret Bechtel Documents Reveal: Yes, It Is About Oil (April 9, 2003)

This article describes a report by the Institute of Policy Studies regarding the connections between the Bechtel Corporation and US policy towards Iraq since the 1980s. It includes an interview with Jim Valette, one of the authors of the IPS report. (CounterPunch)

Who'll Control Iraq's Oil? (April 9, 2003)

When there is full control of the second-largest oil reserves in the world, the oil shipment will quickly resume. The question remains though, who has the legal authority to sell it? (New York Times)

How is Future of Iraq's Oil Sector Seen? (April 7, 2003)

After removing Saddam Hussein from power and lifting UN sanctions, the control of Iraqi oil remains unclear. For example, the validity of contracts signed under the Saddam Hussein regime is still in question. (Middle East Online)

In the Pipeline: More Regime Change (April 5, 2003)

Israel seriously plans to restart an oil pipeline that once transferred oil from Iraq to Israel. According to an Israeli minister, the US would back this project, but its realization would also require Syria's consent, putting Damascus on the list of US targets. (Asia Times)

US, Allies Clash Over Plan to Use Iraqi Oil Profits for Rebuilding (April 3, 2003)

The United States plans to take control of Iraqi oil production after the war, but UN and UK officials say the US lacks a legal basis to control oil exports without a new Security Council resolution. The prospect of US control over Iraqi oil has hardened international opposition to Washington's postwar plans, says this Washington Post article.

Candidate for Production Job Is a Retired Shell Executive (April 2, 2003)

Oil industry experts say the Bush administration is likely to tap Philip J. Carroll, former chief executive of Shell Oil Company, to oversee Iraqi oil production after the US ousts Saddam Hussein. While Bush insists that the sale of Iraqi oil will benefit the Iraqi people, industry experts say the world community and Iraqis themselves remain skeptical. (New York Times)

The Thirty-Year Itch (March/April, 2003)

Robert Dreyfuss argues that Washington's hawks have been calling for the US to seize control of the Persian Gulf for three decades. The planned war on Iraq will fulfill this vision, in which "the key to national security is global hegemony." (Mother Jones)

Oil War (March 26, 2003)

Big oil companies need to find access to sources of oil, and this determines their interest in the Middle East. For the US the terminology "energy security" is applied in the effort to make Iraq a world oil supplier. (BBC)

Cheney Is Still Paid by Pentagon Contractor (March 12, 2003)

Halliburton, the US company that obtained a contract to handle oil well fires and oil facilities in Iraq, pays up to 1 million dollars a year to US Vice President Dick Cheney. The vice president is the main author of a White House report released in 2001 on the problem of US dependence on imported petroleum. (Guardian)

War Could Be Big Business for Halliburton (March 23, 2003)

When it comes to making money from a war in Iraq, few can match the firepower of the company once headed by Vice President Dick Cheney, says Reuters. The company, which develops oil fields and drills for oil all over the world, has well-established connections and government relationships.

Not Oil, But Dollars vs. Euros (March, 2003)

Control over some of the world's most extensive oil reserves represents only one prize of a war against Iraq, argues writer Geoffrey Heard. The US also wants to ensure that the dollar remains the currency in which the oil trade takes place, in an effort to secure US global economic dominance.

Oil War: 23 Years in the Making (March 9, 2003)

The future of Iraq is stated in Pentagon's "OpPlan10-03-Victor" that consists not only of disarming Saddam Hussein but also a long term goal of controlling oil in the Persian Gulf region. (Toronto Star)

Firm Linked to Cheney Wins Oil-Field Contract (March 8, 2003)

Contract to handle oil well fires and damaged oil facilities in Iraq went to Halliburton Coperation, a company previously the headed by Vice President Dick Cheney. (San Francisco Chronicle)

A Wilful Blindness (March 11, 2003)

As in Afghanistan, the US has increased its military presence in many places to further its "war against terror." Now, under the same pretext, the US government exercises strategic control over almost all the world's major oil producing and transporting regions. (Guardian)

How Will Post-War Iraq Affect Saudi's Oil Market Position? (March 5, 2003)

According to a report, a post-war Iraq with its oil reserves will compete with Saudi Arabia, one of OPEC's strongest members. (Middle East Online)

For Exxon Mobil, Size Is a Strength and a Weakness (March 4, 2003)

Exxon Mobil is one of the richest companies in the world but its production has remained flat for the last four years. The company claims it has nothing to do with a possible war on Iraq but it is searching for access to new rich oil fields in the Gulf region. (New York Times)

Crude Vision: How Oil Interests Obscured US Government Focus on Chemical Weapons Use by Saddam Hussein (March 2003)

This report, by the Institute of Policy Studies, investigates the "revolving door" between the Bechtel Group and the Reagan administration that drove US policy towards Iraq in the 1980s. The authors argue that many of the same actors are back today, justifying military action against Iraq and waiting to reap the benefits of post-war reconstruction.

The Tiger in the Tanks (February, 2003)

This report from Greenpeace argues that a war on Iraq would serve the needs of ExxonMobil to secure a continued supply of cheap oil. The influence of ExxonMobil proves that US energy policy is setting the path for the nation's foreign policy.

Oil As An Anti-War Weapon Mulled (February 26, 2003)

During a Non-Aligned Movement summit, leaders from Islamic countries stated that they might use oil to pressure those in favor of an attack on Iraq. (Reuters)

Rift Emerges Over the Fate of Iraqi Oil (February 12, 2003)

Pentagon officials want to privatize the ownership of oil in Iraq while the US State Department wants oil industries to remain public. The goal is not to help the people of Iraq but to finance the US war efforts with oil. (Agence France Presse)

It's Not "All About Oil," But... (February 10, 2003)

A US invasion of Iraq would reshuffle the global players who have big stakes in the Iraq's oil fields. Business Week reveals the game of interests between the US, France and Russia, veto-holders in the UN Security Council.

Regional Powers React to Proposed US Invasion of Iraq (February 6, 2003)

Erich Marquardt raises the question of "how long global powers will stand in direct opposition to US plans in Iraq." In the event of war, if France and possibly Russia oppose "US hegemony," both countries would lose lucrative oil contracts. ( Power and Interest News Report )

Oil and War (February 1, 2003)

Milan Rai reviews the history of "imperial cost/benefit analysis" regarding the control of Iraq's oil reserves and argues that the planned US war against Iraq will be "a war to control the profits that flow from oil." (ZNet)

Black Gold (January 23-29, 2003)

John Sfakianakis examines the question of what will be done with Iraq's oil in the aftermath of a US-led attack. (Al-Ahram Weekly)

US Is 'Blinded by Oil Fever,' Iraqi Diplomat Says (January 29, 2003)

Responding to President George Bush's State of the Union address, Iraq Ambassador to the UN, Mohammed Aldouri, compared it to "British colonial aspirations of a century ago" and criticized the Bush administration as "blinded by oil fever." (New York Times)

Few Nations Marching to Bush's War Drums (January 27, 2003)

The level of opposition to a war against Iraq is greater in Europe than in the US because "links between the oil and weapons industries and key members of the Bush administration are widely covered in European media." To fill this gap, the Chicago Tribune uncovers the links between the Bush administration and various oil companies with interests in Iraq.

France Demands Iraqi Oil Rights to Drop Veto (January 26, 2003)

The US may compromise its plans to monopolize the post-war oil industry in Iraq to convince France not to use its veto power to block a US motion for war in the UN Security Council. (Sunday Herald)

US Buys Up Iraqi Oil to Stave Off Crisis (January 26, 2003)

The US military claims that recent surge of oil imports from Iraq does not represent an "oil grab," but a security strategy to protect the US economy. The statement might foreshadow a pretext the US could use to seize control of oil installations in Iraq. (Observer)

US Begins Secret Talks to Secure Iraq's Oilfields (January 23, 2003)

Contradicting US and British governments' claims that oil is not a factor in the confrontation with Baghdad, the US State Department declared that protecting Iraq's multibillion oilfields is "issue number one" in the case of military intervention. (Guardian)

This Looming War Isn't About Chemical Warheads or Human Rights: It's About Oil (January 18, 2003)

Robert Fisk, Middle East correspondent for the Independent, argues that statistics regarding the future of oil production and consumption, together with the history of US policy in Iraq, prove that the war plans of the Bush administration are all about oil.

Post-Saddam Energy Visions (January 17, 2003)

According to Michael Renner, the US plan for an invasion of Iraq is an example of the fact that for Washington, "securing oil supplies has consistently trumped the pursuit of human rights and democracy." He examines the effects such an invasion might have on the global oil economy. (International Herald Tribune)

Plan: Tap Iraq's Oil (January 10, 2003)

Oil revenues will help fund a post-Saddam US military occupation of Iraq. This reinforces the common conviction that the conflict is not about getting rid of weapons of mass destruction, but actually about controlling Iraqi oil. (Newsday)

Is Oil America's Real War Aim? (January 9, 2003)

The issue of oil is occupying an increasingly important position in the public debate of the US aims to go to war with Iraq. (Radio Free Europe/ Radio Liberty)

Turkey Prepares to Stake Claim in Iraq's Oil Fields (January 7, 2003)

Turkey, one the US' most strategic allies for launching a war against Iraq, announced that it may have a legal claim in Iraq's Mosul and Kirkuk province oil fields, based on a treaty from the 1920s signed between the Turkish Republic and Britain. The US is expected to condemn the claim out of concern for the "integrity" of a post-war Iraq. (Telegraph)

International Petroleum Enterprises Report on Iran, Iraq, Kuwait and Saudi Arabia (January, 2003)

This report, entitled "Reopening of Upstream Oil and Natural Gas to Foreign Interests: Views and Actions of Iran, Iraq, Kuwait and Saudi Arabia," is the result of a fourteen-month investigation by International Petroleum Enterprises (IPE), an independent research and consulting firm. It analyzes the policy views and potential actions of the key oil producers in the Persian Gulf regarding the reopening of their upstream oil and natural gas to foreign interests.

Post-Saddam Iraq: Linchpin of a New Oil Order (January, 2003)

Michael Renner of Worldwatch Institute argues that a US-occupied Iraq would shift the balance of power in the Middle East and allow Washington to gain an enormous leverage over world oil production. Oil companies, with "pervasive" ties to the White House, see Iraq as "a boom waiting to happen." (Foreign Policy in Focus)


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Oil, Iraq and America (December 30, 2002)

Dilip Hiro argues that US oil companies will not be privileged in developing Iraqi oil fields after a war. Since the US reportedly promised to honor the Russian's and perhaps other countries' oil contracts with the Saddam regime, little oil would be left for the US companies. (Nation)

US Would Protect Iraqi Oil Fields (December 29, 2002)

In the event of a war, Washington plans to secure Iraqi oilfields and possibly increase oil production to pay for post-war reconstruction. The government presumes that an increase in oil production will lower oil prices, helping the US and other Western oil-consuming nations. (Reuters)

Iraqi Oil Strategy Divides State, White House (December 28, 2002)

The Bush administration is divided on the issue of what to do with Iraqi oil fields after ousting Saddam Hussein. While the "hawks" argue that supervising Iraqi oil could help Washington shape global energy prices and erode the power of OPEC, the "moderates" favor using the UN's oil-for-food program to hold production down. (News World Communications)

The Oil Reckoning (December 27, 2002)

Professor Paul Rogers of Bradford University argues that the seemingly inevitable US war against Iraq falls within a national security scheme designed in the Reagan administration to manage growing dependence on oil in the Middle East. The US is determined to orchestrate a "more acceptable" balance of power in the region by ousting Saddam Hussein. (openDemocracy)

Growing US Need for Oil From the Mideast Is Forecast (December 26, 2002)

Recognizing US dependence on foreign sources of oil, government studies predict more reliance on oil imported from the Persian Gulf for 2020 and acknowledge the need to diversify US energy policy. (New York Times)

Venezuela Crisis May Hit US Iraq War Plans (December 16, 2002)

An oil expert suggests that Venezuela's current oil strike might affect US plans to launch a war against Iraq. The situation in Venezuela led George Bush to call publicly for early elections to "resolve the crisis." (Reuters)

Future of Iraq's Oil Reserves, World's Supply Depends On Type of War Waged (December 16, 2002)

Since Iraq has the world's second largest oil reserves, a war on Iraq would have short- and long-term effects on the world's oil supply. The future for the world's oil depends largely on what kind of war would be waged in Iraq and the prospective post-Saddam regime. (Canadian Press)

Iraq's Oil (December 15, 2002)

In this transcript, CBS 60 Minutes questions the Bush administration's stance that a war is not influenced by US oil interests on Iraq. Experts disagree, saying that oil is key to the war equation, since Iraq has the second largest oil reserves in the world.

Iraq Snubs Moscow, Scraps Big Russia Oil Contract (December 12, 2002)

Iraq terminated a big oilfield development contract with Russia's Lukoil in what represents a significant political rebuff to Russia. Russia feared that US unilateral military action might endanger contracts and therefore sought guarantees from the US rather than Iraq. (Reuters)

US Blackmailing Russian Firms in Iraq (December 11, 2002)

A Russian oil company director accuses US companies of blackmailing Russian companies into financing Iraqi opposition groups in return for oil contract guarantees with a post-Saddam Iraq. Some companies have accepted similar US proposals while other Russian businessmen remain distrustful. (Moscow Times)

Russian Oil Giants Try to Beat US to Iraqi Reserves (December 11, 2002)

Russian oil companies will sign contracts to develop a unique oil field in Iraq, worth an estimated £350 billion. The companies rely on Washington to keep its promise of "respecting Moscow's economic interests in the event of a regime change." (Guardian)

A Crude View of the Crisis in Iraq (December 8, 2002)

Contrary to what most analysts believe, the Washington Post argues that "no US administration would launch so momentous a campaign just to facilitate a handful of oil development contracts and a moderate increase in supply -- half a decade from now."

Blood and Oil Alternatives to War in Iraq (November 22, 2002)

By looking at the recent history of the Middle East, Michael Renner from the Worldwatch Institute shows how oil has driven US policy in the region. According to him, developing energy alternatives to oil could prevent a conflict.

Over a Barrel (November 22, 2002)

History reveals much of how the current struggle over Iraqi oil may end. The Guardian recalls how Iraq's oil was originally developed through a consortium called the Iraq Petroleum Company (IPC). Today, if a "regime change" were to happen, we could see three of the world's largest public companies - BP, Shell and ExxonMobil - fighting for their old IPC possessions.

Iraqi Oil Lies Below Surface of UN Talks (November 5, 2002)

Weapons of mass destruction and regime change dominate the public debate over Iraq. Behind the scene, an equally passionate struggle over access to Iraqi oil takes place among permanent members of the Security Council, who happen to also be home to the world's leading energy companies, argues the LA Times.

Controlling Iraq's Oil: Not So Easy (November 3, 2002)

Iraqi oil reserves affect the national interests and policies for many of the countries most immediately involved in the crisis. The quest for "regime change" might not only rely on 112 billion barrels of proven oil reserves, but "for now, the fear in foreign capitals is that those who do not back Washington will not get to play" after the change. (New York Times)

Carve-Up Of Oil Riches Begins (November 3, 2002)

Executives of three US oil multinationals meet the leader of the Iraqi National Congress, Ahmed Chalabi, to negotiate exploitation of oil reserves in a post-Saddam Iraq. Even though Russia, France and China already have deals with Iraq, Chalabi states that he "would reward the US for removing Saddam with lucrative oil contracts." (Observer)

Hitting OPEC By Way Of Baghdad (October 28, 2002)

A pro-US regime in Iraq would offer incredible benefits for US and UK oil companies, which would "come in as soon as the fighting dies down." A huge new supply of Iraqi oil on the world market would undercut OPEC and further tilt the world balance in favor of the companies. (Forbes)

From the Barrel of Oil (October, 2002)

Geopolitics increasingly involves control of natural resources, as industrialized countries and their rich oil companies depend on oil to fuel the global economy. Down to Earth shows how "oil politics dictates international relations."

Great Power Conflict over Iraqi Oil: the World War I Era (October, 2002)

Western interests in and conflicts over Iraqi oil predate World War I. This article by James A. Paul describes how major international powers have combined military force and private and government pressure to control Iraq's oil. (Global Policy Forum)

Why Another War? (October, 2002)

This primer by the Middle East Research and Information Project (MERIP) gives background information on the Iraq crisis. It analyzes how sanctions have affected the Iraqi people, how Saddam has managed to stay in power, and the driving forces behind the Bush administration's push for regime change.

Energy Companies Weigh Their Possible Future in Iraq (October 26, 2002)

Since the Gulf War, Baghdad has made agreements with oil companies from France, Russia and China to develop Iraq's oil fields once sanctions are lifted. These agreements are likely to be honored if Saddam Hussein stays in power. US and British companies, however, would benefit from a removal of the Iraqi president. (New York Times)

The Unseen Conflict (October 18, 2002)

Comparing the situation to a "deadly game of musical chairs," Michael C. Ruppert describes the different strategic oil interests of the major powers in Iraq, and shows how the US is " playing hardball behind the scenes" to ensure favors to US oil firms. (From the Wilderness)

Oil Prize, Past and Present, Ties Russia to Iraq (October 17, 2002)

Behind a war against Iraq undoubtedly lies a battle for oil. Russian companies fear that a military action in Iraq will promote US oil interests and reduce Russia's profits in Iraq. (New York Times)

Oil Counts in Iraq War Equation (October 16, 2002)

Considering that 40% of Russia's export revenue comes from oil, the US must consider Russian oil interests before taking any military action against Iraq. (Los Angeles Times)

Is It, or Is It Not, for the Oil? (October 9, 2002)

Oil is not the sole reason for the impending war in Iraq. The US, an ever-growing imperialist power, aims essentially at world domination, argues

After US-led Military Strike, What Happens With Iraq's Oil? (October 9, 2002)

The Oil and Gas Journal discusses the legal responsibilities a US-led attack on Iraq brings, especially in regards to Iraq's oil reserves, the World's second largest after Saudi Arabia. The author looks at legal issues such as whether the army of occupation can operate and take proceeds from Iraq's oil industry and whether previous contracts must be honored.

Lukoil Gets Guarantees over Iraq (October 7, 2002)

According to Vagit Alekperoy, president of Russian Lukoil, President Putin has made Russian oil concessions in Iraq a top priority, and has guaranteed the security of the company's assets in Iraq. (Moscow Times)

Oiling the Wheels of War (October 7, 2002)

The so-called "Cheney report" released by the White House in May 2001 raises the problem of growing US dependence on imported oil from Persian Gulf countries. In this article, the Nation questions whether "oil is worth spilling the blood of US soldiers and Iraqi civilians."

Scramble to Carve Up Iraqi Oil Reserves Lies Behind US Diplomacy (October 6, 2002)

As the US tries to obtain the support of Russia and France for military action against Iraq, the Observer reveals maneuvers over future control of oil in Iraq. Moscow fears an "oil grab by Washington," and insists that Russian firms get a share in the post-war oil contracts.

Russian Firm Fights for Iraqi Oil Rights (October 4, 2002)

Before backing a resolution that could lead to the removal of Saddam Hussein, Russia wants to know what will happen to "the billions of dollars worth of business in Iraq once sanctions are lifted," reports the BBC. For Lukoil, one of Russia's biggest companies, "oil is at the top of the agenda."

Putin Adviser Lays Out Oil, Debt Interests on Iraq (October 4, 2002)

Russia appears to be linking guarantees on oil and debt with its approval of a new resolution on Iraq in the UN Security Council. Russia publicly calls for "an opportunity for equal, fruitful cooperation between the international oil companies and the Russian oil companies in future, especially in the privatization of the Iraqi oil sector." (Reuters)

Fighting the First Gulf War (October 2, 2002)

Former Marine Corporal Anthony Swofford who fought in the 1991 Gulf War against Iraq writes: "I knew that I was breathing into my lungs the crude oil I was fighting for." (New York Times)

Stable World Oil Prices Are Likely to Become a War Casualty, Experts Say (October 2, 2002)

The New York Times considers the extent to which oil is driving Washington's policies toward Iraq. This article argues that the ousting of Saddam Hussein would undoubtedly affect the US oil market.

OPEC in the Line of Fire (October 1, 2002)

This article argues that getting rid of Saddam is just an incidental factor in the Iraq crisis. September 11 and the "war on terror" provide a pretext to get rid of OPEC by bringing the world's second largest oil reserves of Iraq into the open market. (Asia Times)

Oil Firms Wait as Iraq Crisis Unfolds (September 29, 2002)

Huge profits and US interests may come courtesy of a war with Iraq. This San Francisco Chronicle article discloses real motives of the US anti-Hussein strategy.

US Plans War to Control Iraq's Oil Wealth: Experts (September 23, 2002)

Indian analysts and oil industry sources claim that US war plans in Iraq have little to do with Baghdad's alleged weapons of mass destruction. Instead Washington seeks to control Iraq's huge oil reserves and "reconstruct" the Middle East. (Indo-Asian News Service)

Europeans Strive to Tighten Trade Ties with Iraq (September 19, 2002)

The New York Times shows how oil interests and trade transactions play a crucial role in the Iraq crisis.

In Iraqi War Scenario, Oil Is Key Issue (September 15, 2002)

United States oil companies are poised to take control over Iraq's immense oil reserves if the US overthrows Hussein. This Washington Post article suggests that US access to Iraqi oil is one of the administration's "biggest bargaining chips" to win support from Security Council members and other Western allies.

UN Debate Over Bush's Stance on Iraq Draws Fresh Skepticism, and Some Support (September 15, 2002)

The United States argues that Iraqi weapons of mass destruction pose a serious threat to global security, but many allies like Germany and Japan are deeply skeptical. US negotiations with Russia have been focused not on weapons but on Russian economic interests in Iraq, notably oil. (New York Times)

Backing on Iraq? Let's Make a Deal (September 13, 2002)

As the US attempts to build a worldwide coalition to cooperate with its military campaign in Iraq, intense behind-the-scenes negotiations are intense. This article outlines some of the major economic interests at stake. (Los Angeles Times)

Understanding your World: Oil, Iraq and the US (September 08, 2002)

This article explains why President Bush and Vice President Cheney's oil interests will undoubtedly affect US policy decisions in Iraq. (The Santa Fe New Mexican)

Corporate Interest in Iraqi Oil (August 20, 2002)

As a US war against Iraq looms, the author encourages "a vigorous debate about the oil politics fueling this conflict. After all, the five permanent members of the United Nations Security Council are all scrambling for economic control of Iraq's oil reserves." (Seattle Post-Intelligencer)

West's Greed for Oil Fuels Saddam Fever (August 11, 2002)

The US attack against Iraq is turning into an oil war, argues The Observer. But would ousting Saddam safeguard Iraq's oil for the West? Not likely.

Iraq Says US, UK Seek to Suppress UN Oil Sales (August 8, 2002)

Baghdad accuses the US and UK of strangling Iraqi oil sales under the Oil-for-Food Program by setting prices too high and squeezing out kickbacks. Iraq and its customers have long complained about the UN policy of retroactive pricing.(Reuters)

Iraq and the New Great Game (August 5, 2002)

Rahul Mahajan writes that Washington's reasons for attacking Iraq, such as the threat of weapons of mass destruction, are not the US top priority. "The US seeks nothing less than the establishment of complete control over all significant sources of oil," he argues. (

Iraq's History Is Written in Blood (August 2, 2002)

Iraq's leaders may change, but "this inherently unnatural, unstable, unmanageable nation has the Mideast's second largest reserves of oil" and thus has been the object of great power lust throughout the twentieth century. (Foreign Correspondent)

Profound Effect on US Economy seen in a War on Iraq (July 30, 2002)

If the US decides to attack on Iraq, without any Persian Gulf war international allies, it would have to pay most of the cost and endure the burden of any oil price shock, which will profoundly affect already declining US economy. At the end of the day, this war is really about the "War on Oil." (New York Times)

West Sees Glittering Prizes Ahead in Giant Oilfields (July 11, 2002)

A regime change would open Iraq's new, rich oilfields to Western companies and lessen dependence on Saudi Arabia. "There is nothing like it anywhere else in the world. Its the big prize," says Gerald Butt, editor of the Middle East Economic Survey. Iraq's unexploited oil reserves amount to 112 billion barrels, second only to Saudi Arabia. (Times)

Iraqi Oil Cutoff Tied to Drilling in Alaska (April 11, 2002)

After vigorously opposing an effort in the Senate to raise domestic fuel efficiency standards—a change that advocates have long argued would save far more oil than Iraq or the Alaska wildlife refuge could produce, the Bush Administration announced that Iraqi oil cutoff makes it urgent to allow drilling for oil in Alaska. (New York Times) Running for Cover: The US, World Oil Markets and Iraq (September 28, 2000)

Oil and Military Power in the Middle East and the Caspian Sea Region (February 28 and March 6, 2002)

Michael Tanzer examines the relationship between oil and gas in the Caspian region and the Middle East to past and possible future military actions in those areas. Part I focuses on the US/UK governments and companies' dominance of oil in the Middle East. Part II follows Germany, Japan and Italy's roles in the region's oil politics and provides an analysis on crucial role of emerging oil markets of the Caspian Sea Region. (The Black World Today)


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Running for Cover: The US, World Oil Markets and Iraq (September 28, 2000)

Releasing the Strategic Petroleum Reserve was only one of several Clinton Administration strategies behind the scenes to find political cover as oil prices rose. Another tactic was to blame the turbulent oil markets on planned "disruptions" in Iraqi oil production. Will Iraq cut back production to drive up prices? (MERIP)

The Iraq Oil Industry After Sanction (February 29, 2000)

The summary of the Middle East Institute conference attended by leading international petroleum experts provides in-depth analysis on possible development and outcome of Iraq's oil industry after sanctions.

Iraq Oil Output (February 29, 2000)

Iraq has the potential to drastically increase its petroleum output, possibly glutting world markets. While OPEC ministers prepare to meet to consider increasing production to bring down soaring oil prices, the oil industry's experts are weighing the impact of that possibility. (Federation of American Scientists)

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