Fires are out, for the most part, and with the success thus far in Baghdad thoughts turn to a post-Saddam Iraqi oil industry. In this earlier post I mentioned Wednesday’s editorial in the WSJ about auctioning off Iraqi drilling rights, regardless of nationality. According to this Agence France Presse story on Yahoo! (oh, the irony), the industry may move in that direction. Exiles who are active in the Oil and Energy Working Group suggest removing the Iraqi state monopoly oil company and opening the industry to private companies. The extent to which this move will be “regardless of nationality” is certainly going to be a political tool.
See also the DOE’s country analysis brief on Iraq, which illustrates the productive potential of Iraq’s energy resources.
Also, think about how much better off the Iraqi people would have been if these resources had been fully exploited (consistent with long-term production, of course) over the past 11 years, in addition to the depressing thought of how much better off people would have been if the resources that went toward munitions and tanks had gone instead into investment, trade, and commerce.