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Cashing In

10:20 AM -- Things seem to be working out in Iraq, after all. The New York Times reports from Baghdad:

    Four Western oil companies are in the final stages of negotiations this month on contracts that will return them to Iraq, 36 years after losing their oil concession to nationalization as Saddam Hussein rose to power.

    Exxon Mobil, Shell, Total and BP — the original partners in the Iraq Petroleum Company — along with Chevron and a number of smaller oil companies, are in talks with Iraq’s Oil Ministry for no-bid contracts to service Iraq’s largest fields, according to ministry officials, oil company officials and an American diplomat.

    The deals, expected to be announced on June 30, will lay the foundation for the first commercial work for the major companies in Iraq since the American invasion, and open a new and potentially lucrative country for their operations.

    The no-bid contracts are unusual for the industry, and the offers prevailed over others by more than 40 companies, including companies in Russia, China and India...
Well, maybe they should have jumped aboard the Liberation train before it left the station. Hmm?

    There was suspicion among many in the Arab world and among parts of the American public that the United States had gone to war in Iraq precisely to secure the oil wealth these contracts seek to extract...
Is there no depth of cynicism to which these benighted heathens will not plunge?

    The Bush administration has said that the war was necessary to combat terrorism. It is not clear what role the United States played in awarding the contracts; there are still American advisers to Iraq’s Oil Ministry.

    Sensitive to the appearance that they were profiting from the war and already under pressure because of record high oil prices, senior officials of two of the companies, speaking only on the condition that they not be identified, said they were helping Iraq rebuild its decrepit oil industry.
Ah! Humanitarians, then. But we knew that.

— Larry, Attack Monkey, Light Reading

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