The secret plan of the Bush Administration to help energy companies steal the Iraqi oil will succeed in a few weeks, probably. The consequences of this operation are considerable: increase of incomes for the oil lobby, a worse subjugation of the Iraqis, more American troops in the region and better chances to invade Iran. And this is just the beginning.
The problem for the government has been the transfer of control of the Iraqi oil resources to private and anonymous companies under the veil of legitimacy while keeping high prices. To solve this, they found a simple and evil solution: the PSA (Production Sharing Agreements).
The PSA are a governmental tool to improve the exploitation of the zones where the extraction is difficult from the technical point of view. Drilling companies have favourable conditions that guarantee them better incomes. The non governmental organization PLATFORM, specializing in oil matters, states in its report “Crude Designs: The Rip-off of Iraq’s Oil Wealth” that the PSA model is about to be adopted in Iraq after elections in December, probably, and with no public debate. This represents a huge loss for Iraqis. These agreements, written by the Department of State of the United States are very good for oil companies, which will make profits of between 42% and 162%, a far cry from the 12% the ROI used to apply in this field. On the contrary, at 40 dollars a barrel, Iraq will lose between 74 and 194 thousand million dollars, just taking into consideration the first twelve signed agreements. This is seven times the budget of the Iraqi State. It must be pointed out that the PSA are difficult to renegotiate without huge penalties. During the next 50 years, Iraqi electors will be incapable, actually, of making any modification to these agreements signed by an illegitimate government.
For Greg Muttitt, autor of the report, “behind the speeches of the government to create a democratic Iraq, the policy of imposing the PSA succeeded in confiscating the most important national resource of Iraq. And I would add: the United States, Great Britain and the oil companies are taking advantage of the fragility of the Iraqi institutions and the violence in the country to force the government to sign long-term agreements that are not very favourable for the country.”
When this stage is completed in Iraq, the chances of invading Iran are more real due to the size of that country’s oil reserves. Teheran was already included on the list of targets to be attacked by part of the Bush Administration, not because of its nuclear aspirations but for its intention of opening an international oil exchange market denominated in Euros at the beginning of 2006. The Iranian oil “stock market” will compete directly with the NYMEX of New York and would allow OPEC not to use dollars to the benefit of the more profitable “petroeuros”. Washington is determined to block this initiative at all costs. If the PSA model is imposed on Iraq, a precedent would be set in the region and the Bush Administration would have an additional motive to work on the next political change in Iran.

Dissident Voice

Mission Accomplished: Big Oil’s Occupation of Iraq”, by Heather Wokusch, Dissident Voice, December 3, 2005.