John W. Schoen, MA, Senior Business Producer for MSNBC, wrote in a May 6, 2003 MSNBC.com article titled "Who Will Win the Iraq Oil Bonanza":
"The list of countries with a[n] interest in Iraq's oil industry is long - at least 31 companies from 21 countries have had talks in one form or another with Saddam Hussein about developing Iraq's oil fields once sanctions were lifted. Russia and France, vocal opponents of U.S. military effort to topple Saddam, top the list. The former regime also cast widely the promise of lucrative oil contracts to smaller countries - from Algeria to Vietnam.
But it turns out that, while there were lots of handshakes with Saddam, there were relatively few signed contracts. Among the firmest deals were those made with Chinese oil company CNPC to develop the Al-Ahbad field south of Kut. Russia's Lukoil thought it had a firm contract to develop the West Qurna field 50 miles northwest of Basra - until Saddam abruptly canceled the deal shortly before the war began, according to Valerie Marcel, an analyst with the Royal Institute of International Affairs, who has kept track of Iraq's oil deals."
The Economist, in its Oct. 10, 2002 edition, wrote in an article titled "Saddam's Charm Offensive":
"In the past few weeks, leading firms such as TotalFinaElf (of France), Eni (Italy) and Repsol YPF (Spain) have signed bilateral deals to bring Iraq's oil to market.
A few months ago, a Turkish firm cut a deal to drill in the north of Iraq. More recently, a team from Tatneft, an oil contractor from the Russian republic of Tatarstan, arrived to drill the first of what may be over 70 wells. That deal, believed to be the biggest for several years, is part of a much broader relationship that Mr. Hussein has cultivated with Russian firms. Some industry insiders reckon that Zarbezhneft, the Russian firm for which Tatneft is working, may have secured oil concessions worth up to $90 billion.
As well as Zarubezhneft, a number of smaller Russian firms are doing a brisk trade with Iraq, in everything from oil supplies to drilling to spare parts. Lukoil, a Russian giant, has a majority stake in West Qurna, an enormous field holding over 11 billion barrels of oil; the firm plans to invest $4 billion over the lifetime of the field to develop it."
Kenneth R. Timmerman, MA, Contributing Editor for Newsmax.com, wrote in a Mar. 16, 2004 New York Post article titled "The French War for Oil":
"In documents I obtained during an investigation of the French relationship with Saddam Hussein, the French interest in maintaining Saddam Hussein in power was spelled out in excruciating detail. The price tag: close to $100 billion. That was what French oil companies stood to profit in the first seven years of their exclusive oil arrangements - had Saddam remained in power.
The secret deals that French state-owned oil companies negotiated with Saddam Hussein went widely unreported in France.
Almost as soon as the guns went silent after the first Gulf war in 1991, French oil giants Total SA and Elf Aquitaine - who have now merged and expanded to become TotalFinaElf - sought a competitive advantage over their rivals in Iraq by negotiating exclusive production-sharing contracts with Saddam's regime that were intended to give them a stranglehold on Iraq's future oil production for decades to come."
The Energy Information Administration (EIA), wroted in its briefing paper titled "Iraq Country Analysis" on www.eia.doe.gov (accessed Feb. 25, 2003):
"In October 2001, a joint Russian-Belarus oil company, Slavnet, signed a $52 million service contract with Iraq on the 2-billion-barrel, Suba-Luhais field in southern Iraq. Full development of Sua-Luhais could result in the production of 100,00 bbl/d at a cost of $300 million over three years. As of March 2002, Slavnet reportedly was awaiting approval from the United Nations to drill 25 wells at Luhais."