The Rip-Off of Iraq's Oil Wealth

BACKGROUND: *Crude Designs: The Rip-Off of Iraq's Oil Wealth*

[In November 2005, PLATFORM published an unprecedentedly detailed study of Big Oil's plan for exploiting Iraq's oil wealth. -- As the press release announcing the study says, this is the first study to attempt to calculate the cost to the Iraqi people of the oil contracts being imposed upon it.[1] -- "Control of Iraq's future oil wealth is being handed to multinational oil companies through long-term contracts that will cost Iraq hundreds of billions of dollars." -- No wonder the resistance to American plans is considerable. -- The Bush administration's plans for Iraq, of course are predicated on the notion that most Americans and Iraqis are too thick to be able to see the arrangements described here for what they are: a design to rip off Iraq's oil wealth. -- Primarily the work of researcher Greg Mottiett, the study is called *Crude Designs: The Rip-Off of Iraq's Oil Wealth*. -- While a clever pun, this title is not really accurate, since the U.S. plan is anything but a crude one. -- Perhaps *Refined Design* would have been a better title. -- UFPPC has posted the text of Greg Mottiett's *Crude Designs: The Rip-Off of Iraq's Oil Wealth* in HTML format in three parts: Part I:
http://www.ufppc.org/content/view/3704/ "Executive Summary" & Section One: "The Ultimate Prize: Anglo-American Interests in Gulf Oil"; Part II:
http://www.ufppc.org/content/view/3705/ Section Two: "Re-Thinking Privatization: Production Sharing Agreements," Section Three: "Pumping Profits: Big Oil and the Push for PSAs," Section Four: "From Washington to Baghdad: Planning Iraq's Oil Future," & Section Five: "Contractual Rip-Off: The Cost of PSAs to Iraq"; and Part III:
http://www.ufppc.org/content/view/3706/ Section Six: "A Better Deal: Options for Investment in Iraq's Oil Development," & Section Seven: "Conclusion." -- PLATFORM is a 20-year-old London-based group of activists, environmentalists, artists, and social scientists working on issues of social and environmental justice; in recent years, the group has concentrated on the role of British companies in the global hydrocarbon economy. --Mark]


Unraveling the Carbon Web


Platform November 2005


Control of Iraq's future oil wealth is being handed to multinational oil companies through long-term contracts that will cost Iraq hundreds of billions of dollars.

*Crude Designs: The Rip-Off of Iraq's Oil Wealth* reveals that current Iraqi oil policy will allocate the development of at least 64% of Iraq’s reserves to foreign oil companies. Iraq has the world’s third largest oil reserves.

Figures published in the report for the first time show:

--the estimated cost to Iraq over the life of the new oil contracts is $74 to $194 billion, compared with leaving oil development in public hands. These sums represent between two and seven times the current Iraqi state budget.

--the contracts would guarantee massive profits to foreign companies, with rates of return of 42% to 162%.

The kinds of contracts that will provide these returns are known as production sharing agreements (PSAs). PSAs have been heavily promoted by the U.S. government and oil majors and have the backing of senior figures in the Iraqi Oil Ministry. Britain has also encouraged Iraq to open its oilfields to foreign investment.

However, PSAs last for 25-40 years, are usually secret, and prevent governments from later altering the terms of the contract.


Informant: jensenmk

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Dezember 2005

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