Reading at the Crossroads

Reading at the Crossroads is an archive for columns and letters which appeared in the Terre Haute Tribune Star. I also blog here when my patience is exhausted by what I feel is irritating, irrational and/or ironic in life. --gary daily

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Location: Terre Haute, Indiana, United States

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Thursday, June 19, 2008

THE WAR -- The Money [Part 28]

Oil Giants Back

Maybe this is what McBush has in mind when he lets loose with those I don't care if we stay in Iraq “100 years,” and then, "No, I mean 50 years” pronouncements. Sweetheart deals with Big Oil written on the bodies of fallen American heroes in Iraq, who cares? After all, it may mean saving a dime to a quarter at the pump. Of course, Big Oil wants what Altman in this piece calls “a certain degree of confidence” to back up the no-bid windfall profits those hard working billionaire CEOs at Exxon, Mobil, Shell and BP foresee in Iraq's future. Are they going to pay the Blackwater mercenaries to protect their pipes and pumps, chauffeur around the geologists and engineers, and protect the skies over the desert derricks? I don’t think so. You and I are going to pay for the "permanent bases," or as the militarist wordsmiths would say, "venerable temporary facilities," Bush is pushing for in Iraq. And what we pay won’t be showing up at the pump as we fill our gas guzzlers.

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International Herald Tribune
June 19, 2008

High Energy Thursday: A peculiar deal for some of Iraq’s oil
Posted by Daniel Altman in High energy

Imagine. At the precise moment when demand for oil was the highest in history, a recently democratized country with enormous reserves had the chance to sell extraction contracts to the highest bidder. This was a country that desperately needed the revenue to help rebuild its schools, power grid and water supply after a long internal conflict. So why did it hand out the contracts with no auction at all?

As Andrew Kramer writes [see “Deals With Iraq Are Set to Bring Oil Giants Back,” NYT, 6/19/2008] , Iraq has handed out no-bid contracts to the same companies that used to profit from its oil before Saddam Hussein came to power. . . .

Undoubtedly, there is some political intrigue here; the contracts were actually signed before Iraq’s blockbuster oil law was approved by the government. And the deals do require a certain degree of confidence on behalf of the oil companies that their investment will be protected, even for a couple of years. Just this week, Shell had to close down an offshore oil rig producing 200,000 barrels a day because of attacks by a Nigerian militia. . . .

http://blogs.iht.com/tribtalk/business/globalization/?cat=9

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