Route: Through Central London: Shell House - BP HQ - Grosvenor Square
Backed by the occupying powers, Big Oil has been pushing hard for highly exploitative long-term contracts (so-called PSAs) that would cede them extensive control over the future of Iraq’s oil (see http://tinyurl.com/444jj7 and www.HandsOffIraqiOil.org).
However, apparently emboldened by campaigning inside Iraq (led by oil workers), the Iraqi government has recently cancelled six no-bid service contracts with these companies – one-year contracts that were widely regarded as stepping stones to the prized PSAs (NYT, 11 Sept). According to Greg Muttitt, an expert on Iraq’s oil with the NGO Platform, the companies had been insisting on extension rights, giving them first refusal on subsequent long-term contracts, and the Iraqi Government had balked at this.
Nonetheless, Shell is now poised to sign a long-term multi-billion dollar contract to process natural gas in southern Iraq (a joint venture with the oil ministry, in which Shell will have a 49% stake – see FT, 8 Sept), and on 13 October Iraq’s oil minister will be in London 'meet[ing] energy firms bidding for long-term oil and gas service contracts' in Iraq, 'discuss[ing] details of the fields on offer as well as contract terms' (Reuters, 14 Sept).