Penguin, over on Eschaton this morning, noticed this piece from AlterNet dot org:
Part One: "Even as Iraq is on the verge of splintering into a sectarian civil war, four big oil companies are on the verge of locking up its massive, profitable reserves, known to everyone in the petroleum industry as "the prize."...Both independent analysts and officials within Iraq's Oil ministry anticipate that when all is said and done, the big winners in Iraq will be the Big Four -- the American firms Exxon-Mobile and Chevron-Texaco, and the British BP-Amoco and Royal Dutch-Shell -- that dominate the world oil market. Ibrahim Mohammed, an industry consultant with close contacts in the Iraqi Oil Ministry, told the Associated Press that there's a universal belief among ministry staff that the major U.S. companies will win the lion's share of contracts. "The feeling is that the new government is going to be influenced by the United States," he said."
Wanna know the funniest thing?
The best chances for discovering new reserves is out in the sparsely populated western provinces--Anbar, anyone? The Shi'a and the Kurds now occupy then ground above the biggest proven reserves, but the Sunnis--the insurgents, if you recall--claim those western regions. Which is yet another reason why Iraq will certainly be split into three autonomous regions...
Click on the headline of this post to link with the (rather long, but fascinating) article...and listen to this while reading