Last week, the New York Times reported that four Western oil companies — Exxon Mobil, Shell, Total, and BP — are in the final stages of negotiating no-bid oil contracts “to service Iraq’s largest fields.” These contracts would run for one to two years, and give the oil companies a “foothold” in bidding on future contracts.
But one-to-two year service contracts aren’t enough for analyst Bob Beckel, a Fox News liberal. On the O’Reilly Factor last night, Beckel said that “what we ought to do is get Iraq to give us a 100 year lease” for exploring their oil fields:
BECKEL: OK, now, what we ought to do is get Iraq to give us 100 year lease on their unexplored — they’re the second largest source of oil in the world. Known reserves. Give the United States oil companies 100 year leases. Let us explore. We can get it quickly. It’s through sand. It’s the fastest way to get oil.
Beckel justified giving U.S. oil companies a century of business in Iraq by claiming, “The Iraqis owe us, Bill. We ought to take it.” Watch it:
As the New York Times notes, such no-bid contracts play into the suspicions of those who believe that the U.S. invaded Iraq “precisely to secure the oil wealth these contracts seek to extract.” It’s uncertain what role the U.S. played in negotiating the four no-bid contracts.
If U.S. companies were given 100-year leases like Beckel wants, more people would likely agree with former Centcom Commander John Abizaid’s 2007 claim about the war in Iraq: “Of course it’s about oil.”