UK Plan Oil Exploitation Before Destroy Iraqi

UK to discuss plans to exploit Iraqi oil reserves by some of the world's largest oil company five months before joining the United States in invading the country, the Independent newspaper reported on Tuesday (19/04).

Quoting from a variety of documents said to be obtained under Freedom of Information Act by activist and writer Greg Muttitt campaign, the newspaper said there were at least five meetings between government officials and oil companies BP and Royal Dutch Shell in October and November 2002.

"Shell and BP can not afford to not own shares in (Iraq) for their long-term future," Edward Chaplin, a former director of Middle East Foreign Office was quoted as saying after meeting with a group of oil in October 2002.

"We are determined to get a little action that is fair for the British company in post-Saddam Iraq," he said, according to a meeting that could not be independently verified.

A month later, the Ministry of Foreign Affairs invited the BP again to discuss the opportunities in Iraq "after the change of regime", the paper said.

"BP wanted to be able to get in there and worry if a political agreement refused to give them a chance," the newspaper quoted the minutes of meetings.

BP is concerned that if Washington allows TotalFinaElf's contacts who have been there with Saddam Hussein to stand up after the invasion would make the French conglomerate that became the world's leading oil company. BP told the government they are willing to take a "big risk" to get a share of Iraq's oil reserves, which is the second largest in the world.

Decision Former Prime Minister Tony Blair supported the 2003 invasion led by the United States is the most controversial in his position as prime minister for 10 years.

This led to internal divisions, a large protest in the country and allegations that he deceived the British people over the reasons for the war when weapons of mass destruction not found.

BP said the Ministry of Foreign Affairs that Iraq used to be "more important than anything we've seen in a long time," the paper said.

Trade ministers at the time Elizabeth Symons convince these groups that the government believes oil companies should be given the British energy from oil and gas reserves of Iraq, given Blair's commitment to U.S. plans.

"Baroness Symons agreed that it would be difficult to justify the British company lost in Iraq in a way that if Britain itself became prominent supporter of the U.S. government during the crisis," the newspaper quoted the minutes of a meeting with BP, Shell and BG Group.

A spokesman at the Foreign Ministry had no comment for that. BP, Shell and BG Group are not immediately be reached for confirmation.

Last week, Iraq boost oil production to its highest level for nearly a decade, 2.7 million barrels per day, seen as especially important in regional areas is fragile and the loss of output from Libya. Many opponents of the war suspect that one of Washington's main ambition in attacking Iraq is to secure oil resources and a lot cheaper.

Muttitt, whose book Fuel on Fire published next week, said: "Before the war, insisted the Government indicated that they had no interest in Iraqi oil These documents provide evidence that gives the lie to that claim.

"We see that the oil in fact one of the strategic considerations of the most important government and the government secretly colluding with oil companies to give them access to the big prize

Source : Sm

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