Judicial Watch
Mon Apr 11, 2005 18:38


Judicial Watch site of article & PDF files:

July 17, 2003
Contact: Press Office
(202) 646-5172


1. Iraq Oil Map.PDF

2. Iraq Oil Foreign Suitors.2.PDF

3. Iraq Oil Foreign Suitors.1.PDF

4. UAE Oil Map.PDF

5. UAE Oil Proj.PDF

6. SA Oil Map.PDF

7. SAOilProj.PDF

July 17, 2003
Contact: Press Office
(202) 646-5172



Commerce & State Department Reports to Task Force Detail Oilfield & Gas Projects, Contracts & Exploration

Saudi Arabian & UAE Oil Facilities Profiled As Well

(Washington, DC) Judicial Watch, the public interest group that investigates and prosecutes government corruption and abuse, said today that documents turned over by the Commerce Department, under court order as a result of Judicial Watch�s Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) lawsuit concerning the activities of the Cheney Energy Task Force, contain a map of Iraqi oilfields, pipelines, refineries and terminals, as well as 2 charts detailing Iraqi oil and gas projects, and �Foreign Suitors for Iraqi Oilfield Contracts.� The documents, which are dated March 2001, are available on the Internet at: www.JudicialWatch.org.

The Saudi Arabian and United Arab Emirates (UAE) documents likewise feature a map of each country�s oilfields, pipelines, refineries and tanker terminals. There are supporting charts with details of the major oil and gas development projects in each country that provide information on the projects, costs, capacity, oil company and status or completion date.

Judicial Watch has been seeking these documents under FOIA since April 19, 2001. Judicial Watch was forced to file a lawsuit in the U.S. District Court for the District of Columbia (Judicial Watch Inc. v. Department of Energy, et al., Civil Action No. 01-0981) when the government failed to comply with the provisions of the FOIA law. U.S. District Court Judge Paul J. Friedman ordered the government to produce the documents on March 5, 2002.

The documents were produced in response to Judicial Watch�s on-going efforts to ensure transparency and accountability in government on behalf of the American people. Judicial Watch aggressively pursues those goals by making FOIA requests and seeking access to public information concerning government operations. When the government fails to abide by these �sunshine laws� Judicial Watch files lawsuits in order to obtain the requested information and to hold responsible government officials accountable.

�These documents show the importance of the Energy Task Force and why its operations should be open to the public,� stated Judicial Watch President Tom Fitton.

Exerpt from:
It's the Crude, Dude
War, Big Oil and the Fight for the Planet
by Linda McQuaig

In her latest book, Linda McQuaig takes on Big Oil and its role in U.S. foreign
policy. In this excerpt, she traces the connections between the petroleum
industry and the invasion of Iraq.

There�s something almost obscene about a map that was passed around
among senior Bush administration officials and a select group of oil
company executives in the spring of 2001. It doesn�t show the kind of
detail normally shown on maps � cities, towns, regions. Rather its
detail is all about Iraq�s oil. The southwest is neatly divided, for
instance, into nine �Exploration Blocks.� Stripped of political
trappings, this map shows a naked Iraq, with only its ample natural
assets in view. It�s like a supermarket meat chart, which identifies the
various parts of a slab of beef so customers can see the most desirable
cuts � Block 1 might be the striploin, Blocks 2 and 3 are perhaps some
juicy tenderloin, but Block 8 � ahh, that could be the filet mignon.

The map might seem crass, but it was never meant for public consumption.
It was one of the documents studied by the ultra-secretive task force on
energy headed by U.S. vice president Dick Cheney, and it was only
released under court order after a long legal battle waged by the public
interest group Judicial Watch.

Another interesting task force document, also released under court
order, was a two-page chart titled �Foreign Suitors for Iraqi
Oilfields.� It identifies 63 oil companies from 30 countries and
specifies which Iraqi oil fields each company is interested in and the
status of the company�s negotiations with Saddam Hussein�s regime. Among
the companies are Royal Dutch/Shell of the Netherlands, Russia�s Lukoil
and France�s Total Elf Aquitaine, which was identified as being
interested in the fabulous, 25-billion-barrel Majnoon oil field. Baghdad
had �agreed in principle� to the French company�s plans to develop this
succulent slab of Iraq. There goes the filet mignon into the mouths of
the French!

What makes these documents particularly striking is the fact that, as we
now know from several insider accounts, the Bush administration was
actively focused from its first days in office on overthrowing Iraqi
dictator Saddam Hussein. So, at the same time that the White House was
considering toppling Saddam, it was also keenly studying Iraq�s oil
fields and assessing how far along foreign companies were in their
negotiations with Saddam for a piece of Iraq�s oil. Dick Cheney, former
CEO of oil services giant Halliburton Company, was masterminding both
the task force deliberations and the push to invade Iraq.

Cheney�s central role in these two initiatives � both launched with a
sense of urgency almost immediately after the Bush administration took
office � is noteworthy, particularly given Cheney�s extremely
influential role within the administration. The fact that Cheney is
focused on both invading Iraq and, at the same time, energy policy, is
certainly suggestive of a possible connection between the invasion and a
desire for Iraq�s oil � the very thing that is always vehemently denied.

The task force documents certainly point to a commercial interest in
Iraq�s oil and the danger of it falling into the hands of eager foreign
oil companies, rather than ending up in the rightful hands of eager U.S.
oil companies. Indeed, as the documents show, foreign oil companies were
already nicely positioned for future involvement in Iraq, while the
major U.S. oil companies, after years of U.S.-Iraqi hostilities, were
largely out of the picture, and would have been the big losers if UN
sanctions had simply been lifted. �The U.S. Majors stand to lose if
Saddam makes a deal with the UN [on lifting sanctions],� noted a report
by Germany�s Deutsche Bank in October 2002.

Presumably, the disadvantaged position of U.S. oil companies in Saddam�s
Iraq was discussed at meetings of Cheney�s task force � and with
representatives of those same U.S. oil companies. The administration has
refused to divulge exactly who met with the task force, and continues to
fight legal challenges to force disclosure of the names. (A 2003 report
by the General Accounting Office, the investigative arm of Congress,
concluded that the task force had relied on advice from oil industry
officials.) The administration�s close ties to the industry are
legendary. As the non-partisan Washington-based Center for Responsive
Politics has noted, George W. Bush received more money from the oil and
gas industry in the 1999�2000 period than any other U.S. federal
candidate had received over the previous decade.

One intriguing piece of evidence suggesting Big Oil�s involvement in
plans about Iraq was a National Security Council (NSC) document, dated
February 2001, directing NSC staff to co-operate fully with Cheney�s
task force. This might seem odd, since the task force was focused on
energy, while the NSC is focused on military matters. But the NSC
document, reported in The New Yorker magazine, noted that the task force
would be considering the �melding� of two policy areas: �the review of
operational policies towards rogue states� and �actions regarding the
capture of new and existing oil and gas fields.� This certainly implies
that the Cheney task force was considering geopolitical questions about
actions related to the capture of oil and gas reserves in �rogue�
states, including presumably Iraq.

This suggests that Big Oil, through the Cheney task force, was involved
with top administration officials in discussions about getting control
of oil in Iraq, even as the administration was drawing up plans for an
invasion. Since Big Oil has sought to distance itself from the
administration�s decision to invade Iraq, this apparent involvement
certainly helps explain the otherwise baffling level of secrecy
surrounding the task force.

One reason that regime change in Iraq was seen as offering significant
benefits for Big Oil was that it promised to open up a treasure chest
which had long been sealed � private ownership of Middle Eastern oil. A
small group of major international oil companies once privately owned
the oil industries of the Middle East. But that changed in the 1970s
when most Middle Eastern countries (and some elsewhere) nationalized
their oil industries. Today, state-owned companies control the vast
majority of the world�s oil resources. The major international oil
companies control a mere 4 percent.

The majors have clearly prospered in the new era, as developers rather
than owners, but there�s little doubt that they�d prefer to regain
ownership of the oil world�s Garden of Eden. �[O]ne of the goals of the
oil companies and the Western powers is to weaken and/or privatize the
world�s state oil companies,� observes New York-based economist Michael
Tanzer, who advises Third World governments on energy issues.

The possibility of Iraq�s oil being reopened to private ownership � with
the promise of astonishing profits � attracted considerable interest in
the run-up to the U.S. invasion. In February 2003, as U.S. Secretary of
State Colin Powell held the world�s attention with his dramatic efforts
to make the case that Saddam posed an imminent threat to international
peace, other parts of the U.S. government were secretly developing plans
to privatize Iraq�s oil (among other Iraqi assets). A confidential 100-
page contracting document, drawn up by the U.S. Agency for International
Development and the U.S. Treasury Department, laid out a wide-ranging
plan for a �Mass Privatization Program� especially in the oil and
supporting industries.�

The Pentagon was also working on plans to open up Iraq�s oil sector. In
the fall of 2002, months before the invasion, the Pentagon retained
Philip Carroll, a former CEO of Shell Oil Co. in Texas, to draft a
strategy for developing Iraqi oil. Carroll�s plans apparently became the
basis of a proposed scheme, which became public shortly after the war,
to redesign Iraq�s oil industry along the lines of a U.S. corporation,
with a chairman, chief executive and a 15-member board of international
advisers. Carroll was chosen by Washington to serve as chairman, but the
plans were shelved after they encountered stiff opposition inside Iraq.

Still, the prospect of privatizing Iraq�s oil remained of great interest
to U.S. oil companies, according to the Robert Ebel, from the
influential Washington- based Center for Strategic and International
Studies. Ebel has close ties to the oil industry. He is a former vice-
president of Enserch Corporation, a Dallas- based oil exploration
company, and he worked closely with top officials from Exxon,
Halliburton and Aramco as director of a two-year project on the future
of energy. In an interview in his Washington office, Ebel said it was up
to Iraq to make its own decisions, but he made clear that U.S. oil
companies would prefer Iraq abandon its nationalization. �We�d rather
not work with national oil companies,� Ebel said bluntly, noting that
the major oil companies are prepared to invest the $35 to $40 billion to
develop Iraq�s reserves in the coming years. �We�re looking for places
to invest around the world. You know, along comes Iraq, and I think a
lot of oil companies would be disappointed if Iraq were to say �we�re
going to do it ourselves.� �

Along comes Iraq?

How fortuitous. U.S. oil companies just happened to have tens of
billions of dollars that they wanted to invest in undeveloped oil
reserves when Iraq presented itself, ready for invasion.

Along comes Iraq, indeed.




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