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Future oil sales may be pawned to banks David Teather in New York Saturday May 31, 2003 The Guardian http://www.guardian.co.uk/international/story/0,3604,967490,00.html American officials are considering a plan to use Iraq's future oil and gas revenues as collateral to raise cash to rebuild the country. Several US companies, including Halliburton and Bechtel, which are jostling for the lucrative reconstruction contracts, are reportedly pushing the scheme to expedite the commissioning process. Although the UN security council approved the resumption of oil exports from Iraq last week, production has been hampered by looting. But the plan raises questions about whether the interim authority, which is under US auspices, should tie up the country's future oil and gas revenues. It may also create problems for the permanent Iraqi authority, which may seek to examine the contracts handed out by its forerunner. Under the proposals, the loans would be made by government-backed agencies in the US, Britain and Australia, as well as the commercial banking sector. Iraq's annual oil exports could reach $25bn (£15bn). It was disclosed yesterday that Halliburton, the oil services company formerly run by the US vice-president, Dick Cheney, has already received contracts worth $500m related to Iraq. The Democratic congressman Henry Waxman, who has called for an inquiry into the links between Halliburton and the Bush administration, obtained the $500m figure from the US army. He warned that the company's future revenues in Iraq were "limitless". Halliburton has completed about $71m of work to extinguish oil-well fires lit during the conflict. It has also earned $425m in Iraq-related projects under a wide-ranging contract awarded at the end of 2001. "It is simply remarkable that a single company could earn so much money from the war in Iraq," Mr Waxman said in a letter to Les Brownlee, the acting secretary of the army. Guardian Unlimited © Guardian Newspapers Limited 2003 _______________________________________________ Sent via the discussion list of the Campaign Against Sanctions on Iraq. To unsubscribe, visit http://lists.casi.org.uk/mailman/listinfo/casi-discuss To contact the list manager, email email@example.com All postings are archived on CASI's website: http://www.casi.org.uk