Sunday, August 7, 2011

BP secures 'blood for oil' deal in Iraq

Source: Press TV

The British Petroleum (BP) oil company has managed to take a stranglehold on the Iraqi economy, which amounts to a 'blood for oil' contract, leaked documents show.

The oil giant originally signed a deal in 2009 to be in charge of the country's largest oil field Rumaila, but introduced new clauses into the contract, based on which the Baghdad government agreed to pay the British firm even when oil is not being produced by the field, the Guardian reported.

The added terms, which are considered by critics as a major step away from the original terms of an auction deal signed in the summer of 2009, allow BP to be paid even if the oil stops flowing - whether from government decisions to cut production, strikes or any other disruptions.

"Iraq's oil auctions were portrayed as a model of transparency and a negotiating victory for the Iraqi government," said Greg Muttitt, author of Fuel on the Fire: Oil and Politics in Occupied Iraq.

"Now we see the reality was the opposite: a backroom deal that gave BP a stranglehold on the Iraqi economy, and even influence over the decisions of OPEC” [Organization of Petroleum Exporting Countries], added Muttitt.

The contract is yet another sign of what was always the goal of big business to trade blood for oil in the Iraq war.

The oil industry provides 95 percent of Iraq's foreign earnings and there are plans to lift Rumaila's production almost threefold within the next three years from its existing level of 1m barrels a day.

Rumaila, which is 20 miles from the Kuwaiti border, already accounts for 40 percent of Iraq's total output and even before expansion produces almost half the total output of the UK North Sea fields. Growth to 3m barrels a day would make it 50 percent bigger.

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