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The struggle for Iraq’s oil flares up as Kurds open doors to foreign investors August 7, 2007

Posted by infidelkafirwatch in Uncategorized.
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Who said it was not about OIL?  The OIL for which US and alike have put the world in more danger than ever.

Baghdad is trying to reassert central control of reserves run by Kurdish authorities

Michael Howard in Taq Taq
Tuesday August 7, 2007
The Guardian

At the end of a rough dirt track, on a sun-baked hillock once the domain of scorpions and snakes, squats an odd settlement of caravans, generators and drilling rigs that is at the heart of the battle for Iraq’s oil.

“Welcome to Texas, Kurdistan,” said Karim Ali, as his taxi bounced to the gates of the Taq Taq oilfields, on the undulating plains of Koi Sanjaq, some 80 miles south-east of Irbil. “Soon we’ll all have big hats and cigars like them,” he said, nodding at a group of oil workers passing by on a pickup truck.

Like many Iraqis, Karim appeared convinced that the country’s vast reserves of crude, the bedrock of its economy, were about to be siphoned off by major US oil corporations. The presence of “foreigners” here at Taq Taq merely cemented his certainty.

With the Bush administration pressing the Iraqi government to pass a new hydrocarbons law, there are widely voiced assumptions that it will bulldoze the oil industry into privatisation, and that foreign firms – meaning US ones – will unfairly reap the rewards. A survey published yesterday by a group of British and American NGOs suggested most Iraqis oppose plans to open the oilfields to foreign investment.

Unlike his compatriots, however, Karim, a Kurd from Sulaimaniya, was not perturbed at the thought. “They [the Americans] are our friends and they deserve it for getting rid of Saddam,” he said. “Besides, when oil was in the hands of Baghdad, it never meant anything other than bombs and bullets for us.”

In fact there are no Americans at Taq Taq. The operation is being managed by TTopco (the Taq Taq Operating Company), a joint venture between Genel Energie, a Turkish company, and Addax Petroleum, an independent exploration and development company quoted on the London and Toronto stock exchanges.

The closest thing to a Texan oilman among the 200 or so international team members is Bill, the beefy rig manager, who in his hard hat could pass for John Wayne’s Red Adair character in Hellfighters. When not burrowing for oil in Kurdistan, Bill farms sheep in his native Australia.

The Taq Taq field promises to be the most lucrative new oil development in Iraq since the fall of Saddam Hussein. The three wells sunk since drilling began in May 2006 have penetrated valuable deposits of high-quality crude oil. Within five years it could be producing as much as 200,000 barrels a day, says TTopco’s general manager, Les Blair.

But the trouble for some in Baghdad is that the contract for the Taq Taq operation is one of several exploration and development projects in the self-rule region that have been negotiated and signed by the Kurdish authorities, independently of central government.  [read more]

Is this sad news or what?

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