It was never only about the oil? Thirty six years after losing their oil concessions Exxon Mobil, Shell, Total and BP, the four companies that once formed the Iraqi Petroleum Company and exploited the country’s oil reserves until the industry’s nationalisation in 1972, have returned to Iraq. They are limited contracts and only of two years duration but it would be a silly man who would bet his house against the contracts being extended and expanded in two years time. “The Iraqi Oil Ministry, through a spokesman, said the no-bid contracts were a stop-gap measure to bring modern skills into the fields while the oil law was pending in Parliament.”1 “A stop-gap measure and in two years the big four are going to pack their bags and go home; I don’t think so, and was it ever very likely that Chinese, Indian and Russian companies, even with “their memorandums of understanding with the Oil Ministry”2, would have been allowed to bid?
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