Oil companies rushed into Iraq, offering to rebuild its huge and dilapidated fields for such low fees (around $2 a barrel) that it made executives wince. Almost every big oil company did it. Executives argued quietly that they hoped Baghdad would remember their generosity in getting the country back on its feet once Iraq was ready to give them a chance to explore for new patches of its oil. The other upside of offering such services for a pittance was that Iraqi politicians gearing up for presidential elections next month may find it more difficult – though by no means impossible – to argue Iraq got taken for a ride from big bad oil and to overturn the deals.
But there is a very big, potentially global, downside people that in the industry are now beginning to quietly admit. Read more