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[casi] US/UK planning oil privatization?

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Yamani: US wants to privatise Iraqi oilfields

uploaded 18 Mar 2003

The US is examining ways of privatising the Iraqi oilfields, according to Sheikh Ahmed Zaki Yamani, 
the former Saudi oil minister.

Speaking to The Telegraph, Yamani also said that oil prices could soar beyond $50, wreaking havoc 
with the world economy, if Saddam Hussein burns the oilfields during the expected war.

"We know oil is very important and already the Americans have started to dispose of Iraqi oil [by 
offering it to others].

" It is said that Iraqi oil will be kept in custody for the Iraqi nation but they have even started 
studies of how to privatise the oil industry in Iraq.

" What does that tell you? The majority of people everywhere say this is a war which is about oil," 
Yamani said.

He said burning the Iraqi oilfields could destroy them, creating a "disastrous" lack of crude. 
"Whether it's $50 or $80, any price above $50 is extremely harmful to the world economy. The damage 
would be done," he said.

Oil prices dropped back this week on expectations of a quick war and hopes that the US will soon 
begin to release supplies from its Strategic Petroleum Reserve.

Brent crude closed at $31.16 per barrel from a post-Gulf War peak of $34.55 on Monday.

Separately, it has emerged that the Department of Trade and Industry has held a secret meeting with 
UK companies who fear they will lose out in the reconstruction of post-war Iraq.

They complained that the Government is not doing enough to help British companies win contracts.

By contrast, the US Agency for International Development is already inviting bids from five major 
American infrastructure groups for a $900m contract to oversee rebuilding in Iraq.

BP and Shell have also had informal discussions with the Government about Iraqi oil during 
"routine" meetings. Phil Watts, the chief executive of Shell, said that the company only wanted a 
"level playing field" when opportunities arise.

Iraq, with more than 100bn barrels of proven reserves, is the second largest oil nation after Saudi 

Source: Telegraph

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