Video: Iraqi oil ministry prepares for massive increase in production

Remember how the war in Iraq was just to steal Iraqi oil? CNN reports today that the Iraqis are now preparing to keep the profits of their own resources, rather than having them line the pockets of the tyrant Saddam Hussein. The Oil Ministry will auction 12 new exploration zones as Iraq attempts to boost production fivefold in the next six years:

To put these plans in perspective, oil production in Iraq prior to the 2003 invasion was 2.6 million barrels per day. Saddam Hussein sold it through the UN’s Oil-for-Food Programme, a bypass for sanctions that was supposed to generate revenue to cover humanitarian food and medicinal purchases to alleviate the suffering caused by sanctions on the regime. Instead, the program put billions of dollars into Hussein’s bank accounts, abetted by fraud committed by our supposed UN partners on sanctions.  That fraud only got uncovered after the US forcibly removed Hussein from power and seized the records of Hussein’s regime.

The new production could not come soon enough.  With unrest throughout other oil-producing nations, even an incremental increase from Iraq’s current level of 2.4 million barrels per day could help ease worries in the spot market.  Currently, Iraq is 12th in daily production in the world, but their goal would put them slightly ahead of Saudi Arabia’s current output at #2 and challenge Russia for its current top spot.  The oil lease sale should be very lucrative indeed for the Iraqis, who now actually benefit from their own natural resources rather than starve while a tyrant adds to his personal wealth.

Will the US benefit from the difference?  If American oil companies can compete for those leases, they certainly may.  But that is a decision for Iraqis, by Iraqis, which is exactly what we had in mind all along.