The war in
Oil is the mainstay of
But some huge imponderables loom behind those refinery smoke plumes.
What is going to happen to the oil industry after the all but inevitable
And most importantly, who is going to control the
oil industry? Iraq
The stakes are enormous.
Iraqi oil is even more important to imported energy-addicted American industries and consumers today than it was before the war. So is guaranteeing its uninterrupted flow from Iraqi fields to U.S. refineries as reserves in
The Bush presidency, of course, is built on oil.
George Bush himself was a partner in several (largely unsuccessful) ventures in the Texas oil patch. Truth be known, his father pushed him into politics because he had been a failure at everything else. Many of the president's top campaign contributors were major oil companies. Vice President Cheney was president of Halliburton, the global war profiteering and oil services conglomerate. Numerous administration officials have close ties to Big Oil, including Secretary of State Rice, who was a Chevron director.
So it is no surprise that the White House has quietly but vociferously supported an end run around the Iraqi people to push legislation
Political Cortex notes, however, that:
"So long as a well-organized insurgency has seriously challenged foreign occupation, there has seemed little chance that the major oil companies would risk bringing their exploration, drilling and production crews into this dangerous and unstable country. The very divided government in
Nevertheless, enactment of the law is being pushed hard. But with
Uncertainty. And if there's anything that Big Oil hates, its uncertainty.As it is, the country’s oil industry remains a shambles because of a government that is incapable of meeting a single U.S.-set benchmark and is rife with corruption, as well as those ubiquitous security concerns.
No matter the current political instability, including the widespread theft of oil by civil war factions to raise money from black-market sales, U.S. oil companies are anxious to ink what they believe would be a legally binding deal. This would go a long way toward dealing with the U-word and put them in the catbird’s seat no matter what happens in
"Iraqi ministries lack the capability to effectively budget, draw up and award contracts and get work done, leaving the government sitting on about $6 billion in unspent reconstruction funds, according to a report this month by the U.S. Government Accountability Office. Iraq's oil ministry, which has crippling problems in its oil pipelines and dilapidated refineries and export facilities, has been able to spend only $4 million of the $3.6 billion it has budgeted for repairs, the GAO reported."
For a country lurching toward democracy (or so the White House would have you believe), the push to formalize an agreement between the
Beyond the form that
A cabinet level government committee has produced a draft oil law with PSRs as its centerpiece with the involvement of the
and Big Oil that would cede development and production from new fields for 25 to 40 years. The law was drafted in secret. U.S.
These interests are lobbying hard for the law's approval by parliament. The lobbying is going on in secret.
And what debate there has been, mostly involving Kurdish regional government interests who feel short changed, has been constrained. This is because even the draft of the law is secret.
A Global Policy Forum study titled "Crude Designs: The Rip-Off of Iraq's Oil Wealth," found that the consequences of the law could be devastating.
The study concluded that:
"These decisions should be made with the full participation of the Iraqi people, not in secret by unaccountable elites. Care should be taken not to take major irreversible steps that would later be regretted.
"Getting these decisions right is vital for the future of