Last updated on: 6/6/2008 7:49:00 AM PST
What were the potential prospects for post-war oil exploration in Iraq?


General Reference (not clearly pro or con)
Peter J. Robertson, MS, Vice Chairman of the ChevronTexaco Corporation, stated the following at a Sep. 8, 2003 Middle East Petroleum and Gas Conference in Dubai, United Arab Emirates:

"Again, I am hopeful. And I say that despite decades of tragedy and even though the task of rebuilding that country's oil output will be long and expensive. By some estimates, it will take between $30 billion and $40 billion to bring Iraq's oil sector up to modern-day standards and sustain output at 2 million to 3 million barrels a day.

At 2 million barrels a day, Iraq's annual oil income might total $15 billion. For the foreseeable future, that won't be enough to meet the essential needs of the Iraqi people while rebuilding and growing the country's energy sector.

Clearly, an infusion of external investment and know-how is needed if Iraq is to further develop its existing fields and find new ones. The international oil industry, teamed up with the capital markets, is equipped for that job.

We're prepared to make the investments once Iraq's new government takes root with popular support, a new legal system is established and its tax regime is defined.

Although the final decision for inviting foreign investment ultimately rests with a representative Iraqi government, I believe in due course the invitation will come.

In the meantime, my own company and others are providing immediate assistance to Iraq by setting up commercial arrangements for lifting and transporting current production and assisting with humanitarian aid.

ChevronTexaco has also offered its help in establishing new legal and tax systems, as we did in Kazakhstan with a consortium of experts. And we're ready to consider other proposals where we could help speed reconstruction."


Sep. 8, 2003 - Peter Robertson, MS 

Donald L. Barlett and James B. Steele, journalists, stated in their Time magazine article titled "Iraq's Crude Awakening" on May 10, 2003 :

"Getting Iraq up to its recent production levels might cost only several billion dollars, but to fully exploit its reserves would require an investment of tens of billions. Because of that, Iraqi exiles—and the Bush Administration—want to see the Iraqi oil industry privatized in order to attract foreign investment, a radical notion among the heavily nationalistic oil-producing states."

May 10, 2003 Donald L. Barlett James B. Steele


The Council on Foreign Relations stated the following its Dec. 2002 report, "Guiding Principles for U.S. Post-Conflict Policy in Iraq":

"Iraq has the second largest proven oil reserves in the world (behind Saudi Arabia) estimated at 112 billion barrels, with as many as 220 billion barrels of resources deemed probable.

Of Iraq's 74 discovered and evaluated fields, only 15 have been developed. Iraq's western desert is considered to be highly prospective but yet to be explored.

There are 526 known structures that have been discovered, delineated, mapped, and classified as potential prospects in Iraq of which only 125 have been drilled."


Dec. 2002 - Council on Foreign Relations (CFR) 

Mustafa Bazergan, an Iraqi economist and specialist in energy issues, stated in his Aug. 10, 2003 article "Will Iraq Dictate World Oil Affairs," published on the website AlJazeera.NET:

"Iraq not only has the potential to become the world's largest oil producer but also can produce the oil more economically than most oil producing countries.

Favorable geology has given Iraq some of the world's most prolific oil wells. In 1979 Iraqi wells produced an average of 13,700 barrels per day(bpd). By contrast each Saudi Arabian well averaged10,200 barrels.

The average cost for pumping a barrel of oil out of the ground in the US is about $10; in Iraq it is less than $1."


Aug. 10, 2003 - Mustafa Bazergan 

Nelson D. Schwartz, a journalist, stated in a Mar. 17, 2003 Fortune Magazine article titled "Oil, Why Prices Will Fall":

"Many parts of the country, especially the empty western deserts where Saddam kept his Scud missiles during the last Gulf War [1990-91], are at the top of the list for exploration.

'There is huge potential,' says Muhammad-Ali Zainy, a former Iraqi oil official who escaped Iraq in 1982, following the execution of two of his nephews. Now an oil economist in London, Zainy notes that Iraq added some 45 billion barrels to its proven reserves from 1971 to 1980 through exploration in the south. Unexplored areas could hold more than 100 billion more barrels [of oil]."


Mar. 17, 2003 Nelson D. Schwartz 


Michael T. Klare, PhD, Five College Professor of Peace and World Security Studies at Hampshire College, in an Oct. 7, 2002 The Nation article titled "Oiling the Wheels of War," stated:

"Iraq has yet another key attraction for U.S. oil strategists: Whereas most of Saudi Arabia's major fields have already been explored and claimed, Iraq possesses vast areas of promising but unexplored hydrocarbon potential.

These fields may harbor the world's largest remaining reservoir of unmapped and unclaimed petroleum -- far exceeding the untapped fields in Alaska, Africa and the Caspian.

Whoever gains possession of these fields will exercise enormous influence over the global energy markets of the twenty-first century."


Oct. 7, 2002 - Michael T. Klare, PhD 

Charles V. Peña, MA, Senior Defense Policy Analyst at the CATO Institute, on Sep. 20, 2002 stated in his article "It's Not About Oil?," published in the Chicago Tribune:

"It's also hard to ignore the fact that Iraq has proven reserves of 112 billion barrels of crude oil, the second largest in the world after Saudi Arabia. This is certainly not lost on American oil companies that -- having been banished from direct involvement in Iraq since the late 1800s -- could profit enormously from a post-Hussein government friendly to the United States.

None of this has gone unnoticed by non-American companies from more than a dozen nations - including France, Russia, China, India, Italy, Vietnam, and Algeria - who have oil interests in Iraq. Nervous that a pro-American government in Baghdad might exclude them, representatives of those companies have met with leaders of the Iraqi opposition to make their case for a future stake in a post-Hussein Iraq. Although many of the foreign oil concerns have existing agreements (or have sought to reach agreements in principle) to develop and expand Iraq's oil industry, Iraqi opposition officials have made it clear that they will not be bound by any existing deals."


Sep. 20, 2002 - Charles Peña, MA