Late reports made it clear that indeed former VP Cheney was conforming to all those reports about certain US leaders wanting to invade Iraq at least partly so that US-based oil companies could get their mitts on Iraqi oil. Well, now the central government of Iraq has held auctions on the major outstanding fields, and the only US company to get a major concession was Exxon Mobil. Doing much better than any US company were Dutch-British-based Royal Dutch Shell, Russia's Lukoil, along with several companies out of China and France. Juan Cole reported on this on Monday at http://www.juancole.com, claiming that oil production there will be limited because of ongoing security concerns (which scared off publicly held US oil companies). Cole disagrees with Ben Lando at iraqoilreport.com, who forecasts that after these deals, Iraqi oil production could rise to compete with Saudi Arabia's, thereby helping to hold down the price of oil.
There remains an ongoing dispute between the Iraqi central government and the Kurdish regional government over oil concessions, with the Kurds cutting their own separate deals not recognized by the central government, with more fly-by-night companies banned from the central government's auction. The most important US company in Kurdistan is that run by some of the Hunt family, who had inside information from intel sources during the Bush administration. In any case, the idea that US oil companies would dominate Iraqi oil production in the long run, now looks to have pretty much gone down the tubes.