Iraq's Oil Contracts: Artificial Selection?

The USA wants to check whether oil contracts concluded under Saddam Hussein are legitimate

The USA wants to verify oil contracts signed in Iraq under Saddam Hussein. The American government is going to recommend that the prospective Oil Ministry of Iraq to check up oil contracts concluded with companies from Russia, France and China. Former Chief Executive Officer of Shell Philip Carroll, now picked to run Iraq's oil industry, said in an interview to the Financial Times: "Each of the contracts must be investigated for the legitimacy of its status." The newspaper thinks that the check may result in cancellation of contracts.

Carroll says that someone from the Oil Ministry will have to find out whether this or that agreement is a completed contract or just an agreement of intent concluded between both parties. He is sure that the number of legitimate contracts is "relatively insignificant". He says the former government and some oil companies had many "talks" which finally resulted in different kinds of progress. Those contracts that prove to be complete after the check will be subject to a more-thorough examination for legitimacy. Philip Carroll thinks that some of the contracts are dubious, as "one party of such contracts enjoys more advantages as compared with the other."  He hasn't yet studied the contracts himself and has no intention to. Philip Carroll says his main objective is to deal with the petrol deficit in Iraq and to raise oil production levels.

The future of oil production is one of the key problems in post-war restoration of Iraq. Some time ago, companies from Russia, France and China concluded contracts with Saddam Hussein's regime. Now the companies fear they may be barred from development of Iraqi oil fields, because the governments of their countries didn't support the coalition's campaign in Iraq.

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Author`s name Olga Savka