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Baghdad's huge oil reserves hang in balance of debate

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http://boston.com/dailyglobe2/312/nation/Baghdad_s_huge_oil_reserves_hang_in_balance_of_debateP.shtml

ENERGY POLITICS

Baghdad's huge oil reserves hang in balance of debate

By Evelyn Iritani and John Daniszewski, Los Angeles Times, 11/8/2002

LOS ANGELES - One issue that could influence the outcome of the United Nations debate on Iraq isn't even on the official agenda. It's the thorny question of who will control Iraq's hundreds of billions of dollars' worth of oil reserves.

In addition to being permanent members of the UN Security Council, the United States, Britain, France, China, and Russia are home to the world's leading energy companies, all of which are anxious to get access to Iraq's oil, the world's second-largest reserves behind Saudi Arabia.

While the politics of arms control and regime change dominate the public debate, an equally impassioned struggle is taking place over the economic stakes in the US-led campaign to oust Iraqi President Saddam Hussein.

''Everybody knows why the United States is doing this,'' said Nikolai P. Tokarev, general director of Zarubezhneft, a Russian state-owned company that has been involved in oil production and sales in Iraq since 1967. ''The only reason is the US desire to establish full control over the oil-gas complex of Iraq.''

British and US companies dominated Iraq's oil industry until it was nationalized in the 1970s. British Petroleum held nearly one-quarter of the shares of Iraq Petroleum Co.

In recent years, Iraq has turned to Russia and France for help in restoring an oil sector damaged by war with Iran, the Persian Gulf War, and more than a decade of economic sanctions.

A key concern for Russia, France, and China is whether a new government would honor Iraq's existing agreements. Russia's Lukoil has the largest stake in Iraq, having signed a 23-year, $3.5 billion contract in 1997 to develop the giant West Qurnah oil field.

TotalFinaElf, a French state-owned company, has been negotiating to explore the Majnoon field, whose reserves are estimated at 20 billion to 30 billion barrels.

China National Petroleum Corp. has a contract to develop part of the Rumaila area, which was substantially damaged during the 1991 Persian Gulf War.

''Hussein's replacement with somebody else, particularly someone who is appointed by the US government, will mean that Russia may be ousted from Iraq sooner or later,'' said Viktor A. Kremenyuk, deputy director of the USA-Canada Institute in Moscow. ''Therefore, it becomes clear that resolving the Iraq problem is all about the rivalry around one of the richest oil countries in the world.''

Though the leading UN players have a huge stake in the future of Iraq's oil industry, observers are divided over how oil politics might affect the vote on a new UN Security Council resolution on Iraq, which is expected today.

''There was a theory floating around that one of the things the US would do to garner support from the Russians, Chinese, and French in the Security Council is to honor the deals that were agreed to'' by the present Iraqi government, said John Kingston of Platts, an energy information service in New York. ''But I don't see any signs of that. ''

The Bush administration denies that it is masterminding a US-led division of Iraq's lucrative oil reserves to benefit American multinational companies or its allies.

''The only interest the United States has in the region is furthering the cause of peace and stability,'' White House spokesman Ari Fleischer told reporters last week. ''And what has brought the region to the point where the United Nations is making decisions about what the appropriate means are to enforce Saddam Hussein to comply with UN resolutions is his defiance of UN resolutions, not his country's ability to generate oil.''

Exiled Iraqi dissidents, who have been drawing up plans for a government after Hussein is ousted, have said they will want to examine existing energy contracts.

''We have to look at who helped to free Iraq and who took Saddam's side at our time of need,'' said Salah Shaikhly, an economist and former deputy planning minister in Iraq who now sits on the leadership council of the Iraqi National Accord based in London. ''The fact that Britain and the United States were there for us should give them some slight leverage.''

Officials at Exxon Mobil Corp. and ChevronTexaco Corp., two of America's leading oil companies, refused to comment on their interest in Iraq.

Iraq is sitting on about 11 percent of the world's oil supply, about 112 billion barrels, and that oil can be produced cheaply, for about $1.50 a barrel. Fadhil Chalabi, a former official of Iraq's Oil Ministry, estimates that it will take $5 billion to restore the fields to prewar production levels of 3.5 million barrels a day and an additional $30 billion to increase levels to as much as 10 million barrels a day. Oil has been selling at around $27 to $30 a barrel.

Iraq's full-scale reentry to the global markets would probably bring down prices, which would be good for big importers such as the United States, China, and Singapore. China is the world's second-largest consumer of energy, behind the United States. But lower oil prices would create problems for UN members that are heavily dependent on oil revenues, such as Russia and Mexico.

This story ran on page A27 of the Boston Globe on 11/8/2002.

© Copyright 2002 Globe Newspaper Company.

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The best thing for the IRAQI people is getting that oil out of the hands of the Dictator and into the society of Iraq, even if we take our share.

Benefits:

1)The revenue of the oil will be put back into the economy of Iraq instead of building massive WMD concealing compound palaces for the Iraqi regime.

The Iraqi people will be so happy when it is done just like the Afghani people when we freed them from the Taliban's grip.

2) The price of oil per barrell will come down which in turn limit the grip OPEC has on the rest of the world.

Terrorism is a result of OPEC middle eastern countries depriving their societies from benefiting from their countries lucrative commoditiy, oil. The Saudi Arabian gov't which we all know smile to us while stabbing us in the back has been using the American infidel scapegoat to camaflouge their opression for their citizens for years.

The end result the IRAQI people get a social system, resources, healthcare, running, water, electricity, social security, retirement instead of living a life of torture and murder for uprising.

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Originally posted by bigmahs

The best thing for the IRAQI people is getting that oil out of the hands of the Dictator and into the society of Iraq, even if we take our share.

Benefits:

1)The revenue of the oil will be put back into the economy of Iraq instead of building massive WMD concealing compound palaces for the Iraqi regime.

The Iraqi people will be so happy when it is done just like the Afghani people when we freed them from the Taliban's grip.

2) The price of oil per barrell will come down which in turn limit the grip OPEC has on the rest of the world.

Terrorism is a result of OPEC middle eastern countries depriving their societies from benefiting from their countries lucrative commoditiy, oil. The Saudi Arabian gov't which we all know smile to us while stabbing us in the back has been using the American infidel scapegoat to camaflouge their opression for their citizens for years.

The end result the IRAQI people get a social system, resources, healthcare, running, water, electricity, social security, retirement instead of living a life of torture and murder for uprising.

why the hell do this require the US getting "its share" ???It does NOT have a share in Iraq's oil, only Iraq has a share in its oil...would the US like it if Mexico invaded their country and stole their oil from Texas??? I don't think so.

This is far by a very condescending and selfish attitude...never ceases to amaze me....this attitude will bring about the downfall of this country one day. It is already starting....society is fucked up, the economy is fucked up, and in turn, the US is screwing the world over....what next?

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Originally posted by sassa

why the hell do this require the US getting "its share" ???It does NOT have a share in Iraq's oil, only Iraq has a share in its oil...would the US like it if Mexico invaded their country and stole their oil from Texas??? I don't think so.

This is far by a very condescending and selfish attitude...never ceases to amaze me....this attitude will bring about the downfall of this country one day. It is already starting....society is fucked up, the economy is fucked up, and in turn, the US is screwing the world over....what next?

:bounce::clap::clap2::aright::rock:

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Originally posted by bigmahs

The best thing for the IRAQI people is getting that oil out of the hands of the Dictator and into the society of Iraq, even if we take our share.

Benefits:

1)The revenue of the oil will be put back into the economy of Iraq instead of building massive WMD concealing compound palaces for the Iraqi regime.

The Iraqi people will be so happy when it is done just like the Afghani people when we freed them from the Taliban's grip.

2) The price of oil per barrell will come down which in turn limit the grip OPEC has on the rest of the world.

Terrorism is a result of OPEC middle eastern countries depriving their societies from benefiting from their countries lucrative commoditiy, oil. The Saudi Arabian gov't which we all know smile to us while stabbing us in the back has been using the American infidel scapegoat to camaflouge their opression for their citizens for years.

The end result the IRAQI people get a social system, resources, healthcare, running, water, electricity, social security, retirement instead of living a life of torture and murder for uprising.

:lol3: :lol3: :lol3: :lol3:

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Originally posted by sassa

why the hell do this require the US getting "its share" ???It does NOT have a share in Iraq's oil, only Iraq has a share in its oil...would the US like it if Mexico invaded their country and stole their oil from Texas??? I don't think so.

This is far by a very condescending and selfish attitude...never ceases to amaze me....this attitude will bring about the downfall of this country one day. It is already starting....society is fucked up, the economy is fucked up, and in turn, the US is screwing the world over....what next?

i would have to say that we are going to take our share

1) to finance to billions its gonna cost to uproot this cocksucking dictator's wrath of oppression

2) to provide the US with a lower cost of energy

3) to use it as a barter for support from russia and france (DO NOT FORGET THAT IRAQ OWES THEM BILLIONS AND BILLIONS OF $)

4) the fact that the US should not be placed in this position to begin with, so when we come in full force and RISK OUR SOLDIERS LIVES to release the iraqi people from the hell they live in WE ARE GOING TO DEMAND PAYMENT IN RETURN!!

NOTHING IN LIFE COMES FREE MY DEAR!!!!

what say you???

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Originally posted by underwater

4) the fact that the US should not be placed in this position to begin with, so when we come in full force and RISK OUR SOLDIERS LIVES to release the iraqi people from the hell they live in WE ARE GOING TO DEMAND PAYMENT IN RETURN!!

NOTHING IN LIFE COMES FREE MY DEAR!!!!

what say you???

LOL! who the hell ASKED the US to attack Iraq?? The only country that put the US in this position IS the US!

Yeah, I'm sure all the IRaqis who die as "collateral damage" will be very happpy the US invaded Iraq!

Some of you ppl really crack me up with your ignorance and arrogance!

:laugh:

If the US is so hell bent on freeing ppl from dictators, why doesn't Bush go invade Zimbabwe and take out Mugabe???

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Originally posted by raver_mania

LOL! who the hell ASKED the US to attack Iraq?? The only country that put the US in this position IS the US!

Yeah, I'm sure all the IRaqis who die as "collateral damage" will be very happpy the US invaded Iraq!

Some of you ppl really crack me up with your ignorance and arrogance!

:laugh:

If the US is so hell bent on freeing ppl from dictators, why doesn't Bush go invade Zimbabwe and take out Mugabe???

ok---that was kinda sort of intelligent......how did the US put the US in this position? Answer with fact----not you're childish one liners......FACT FACT FACT.....when arguing against this war (WHICH WILL ONLY TAKE PLACE IF IRAQ REFUSES WEAPONS INSPECTIONS) there is no basis to form.....THE ENTIRE WORLD IS BEHIND THIS.....your voice is contradicting the ENTIRE UN VOTE....ARE YOU CLAIMING THAT THE US ASKED IRAQ TO START SEEKING NUCLEAR WEAPONS VS. COMPLYING W/ THE UN RESOLUTION TO NOT AQUIRE WMD????

your fluffernutter responses only show you lack on reasoning and your ability to live in your little fantasy world of heady buds and tie-dyed t shirts....

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Originally posted by underwater

ok---that was kinda sort of intelligent......how did the US put the US in this position? Answer with fact----not you're childish one liners......FACT FACT FACT.....when arguing against this war (WHICH WILL ONLY TAKE PLACE IF IRAQ REFUSES WEAPONS INSPECTIONS) there is no basis to form.....THE ENTIRE WORLD IS BEHIND THIS.....your voice is contradicting the ENTIRE UN VOTE....ARE YOU CLAIMING THAT THE US ASKED IRAQ TO START SEEKING NUCLEAR WEAPONS VS. COMPLYING W/ THE UN RESOLUTION TO NOT AQUIRE WMD????

your fluffernutter responses only show you lack on reasoning and your ability to live in your little fantasy world of heady buds and tie-dyed t shirts....

I've seen your responses before, and I have to say, they aren't the most intelligent either.

First of all, I said the US put itself in the position it is in, because it took it upon itself to try oust Saddam. If you don't understand that the reason for this war, is BECAUSE of the oil, and that the oil is not just payment for war, then you're a lot more naive than I thought.

Yeah, the whole world is all for the return of inspectors, but whats that little clause that Bush likes to drop now and then...

it would turn to the UN if resolutions were broken BUT DID NOT NEED UN APPROVAL TO INVADE IRAQ. Thats a rubber stamp to unilateral action if I've ever seen one.

I said this before and I'll say it again - its absolutely naive to think that the US aims are altruistic in starting this war..thats complete and absolute BULLSHIT because all thats at stake here is the OIL in IRaq. When has the US ever really given a shit about installing democratic governments in other countries. And before you spout out more BS, pls go do some research on "School of the Americas". BTW, the US allies in the east are very democratic indeed, Saudi Arabia, Pakistan, etc.

Finally, if its the breaking of UN resolutions that is the motivating force for this "war", then why is it that the US has done nothing about Israel? Israel has broken numerous UN resolutions - and when the security council wanted to act on that, guess who stood in the way and said no...yup, its the good ole U S of A.

That, till this day, still remains a mystery to me.

Now, its your turn to give me reasons FOR this war. I'd be more than happy to tackle all your points, one by one.

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Originally posted by raver_mania

First of all, I said the US put itself in the position it is in, because it took it upon itself to try oust Saddam. If you don't understand that the reason for this war, is BECAUSE of the oil, and that the oil is not just payment for war, then you're a lot more naive than I thought.

good post!!!:clap: ...much better then dealing with normalnoises and finally something interesting to read during my hours here at the office.....

it comes down to this.....whats really going on in bush's head....there is definitely an angle that bush could be going for the oil....couple with all other MILLION factors of saddams inability to be a leader.....

SADDAM W/ NUKES = DOMINATION OF PERSIAN GULF

SADDAM W/ NUKES = HIS ABILITY TO INFLICT MAJOR DAMAGE

SADDAM W/ WMD = ABILITY TO PASS THESE ON TO TERRORISTS

there are many reasons for or against this war......my personal opinion is that we have lost thousands of americans and need to do everything in our power to prevent the loss of thousands more....i happen to believe bush's stance and i just have not seen the case made that this war is only about OIL......its going to take roughly 100 billion to finance this operation and then 20-30 years of occupation to install a stable democratic government.....its also going to take billions to refurbish iraqs oil field and equipment.....OIL = the only reason for this?.....i say no, but i'll also be the first to admitt that i am wrong...it also comes down to how people envision the US's role in the world and how progressive we want to be in taking steps to make sure that our direct enemies do not aquire weapons that can wipe out 10's of thousands of or citizens.....oil to me is the icing on the cake....be interesting to see how the story plays out.....look forward to debating this more as the chapters play out starting this friday....thanks for spreading some knowledge to this board!!

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Originally posted by underwater

good post!!!:clap: ...much better then dealing with normalnoises and finally something interesting to read during my hours here at the office.....

it comes down to this.....whats really going on in bush's head....there is definitely an angle that bush could be going for the oil....couple with all other MILLION factors of saddams inability to be a leader.....

SADDAM W/ NUKES = DOMINATION OF PERSIAN GULF

SADDAM W/ NUKES = HIS ABILITY TO INFLICT MAJOR DAMAGE

SADDAM W/ WMD = ABILITY TO PASS THESE ON TO TERRORISTS

there are many reasons for or against this war......my personal opinion is that we have lost thousands of americans and need to do everything in our power to prevent the loss of thousands more....i happen to believe bush's stance and i just have not seen the case made that this war is only about OIL......its going to take roughly 100 billion to finance this operation and then 20-30 years of occupation to install a stable democratic government.....its also going to take billions to refurbish iraqs oil field and equipment.....OIL = the only reason for this?.....i say no, but i'll also be the first to admitt that i am wrong...it also comes down to how people envision the US's role in the world and how progressive we want to be in taking steps to make sure that our direct enemies do not aquire weapons that can wipe out 10's of thousands of or citizens.....oil to me is the icing on the cake....be interesting to see how the story plays out.....look forward to debating this more as the chapters play out starting this friday....thanks for spreading some knowledge to this board!!

Good post on your part as well (its nice to discuss without resorting to personal insults ;) ). I see all your points, and let me give you my opinion...

SADDAM W/ NUKES = DOMINATION OF PERSIAN GULF

Possible but unlikely (see below)

SADDAM W/ NUKES = HIS ABILITY TO INFLICT MAJOR DAMAGE

True, but again unlikely to happen(see below)

SADDAM W/ WMD = ABILITY TO PASS THESE ON TO TERRORISTS

True, but the probabiliy of this increases tenfold in certain circumstances - ie, if the US goes to war with Iraq.

I think many people seem to confuse the war on terrorism with a possible war with Iraq. I've mentioned this in previous posts, but I'll explain again. Saddam is a power-hungry, crazy dictator BUT is not a religious fundamentalist like bin Laden. In fact, Iraq is one of the most secular countries in the ME...and guess what - Islamic fundamentalists like bin Laden do not like that. So, they'd be more than happy to see a regime change, as long as the new regime is run by hard-line religious zealots (like the Taliban). In fact, I think there were cases of Al Queda operating in the norther Kurdish controlled parts of Iraq (not sure of this though).

Thus, though Al Queda and Hussein both hate America, it would probably be disastrous for Hussein to collaborate with Al Queda. For, whats to stop AL Queda from using these WMDs against Hussein himself, to topple his govt and replace it with a non-secular regime. Also, Hussein knows any evidence linking the two together would be all the US needs to go ahead and take him out.

For this same reason, Hussein will not use any WMDs in the ME. He knows it would be suicidal to do so - and the last thing he wants to do is to lose power. So, while Hussein might be crazy, and a tyrant, he is also extremely power hungry and would not risk using WMDs, because doing so would be the same as signing his death warrant.

HOWEVER...

(here are some cons of a US war on Iraq)

1) If you corner Saddam, any and all of what I mentioned above might no longer apply. In his desperation, and need for revenge, he might not only use any WMD's he has, but might be willing to barter with terrorists and sell/give them all he has. Then, we have a LOT MORE to worry about than if only Saddam had WMDs.

2) ME support hangs on a very fine thread right now. In fact, the Arab League has said that any military attack on Iraq would be seen as a threat to all Arab nations. I have no idea what that means, and don't really want to find out.

3) It will hurt the war on terror. Not only will the US be spreading itself thin, any war might actually serve to swell the ranks of Al Queda. Why? Because, you're gonna piss off a whole lot of the ME population (civilian) - they could see this as the beginning of an American invasion of the ME, and what better way to fight that than join America's arch enemy.

4) LAst but not least...the Iraqi civilian casualties will be much higher than in the Gulf war, especially if the fight moves to Baghdad.

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