Anti-war campaigners today criticised reports that the Iraqi government has approved a bid by BP to develop one of its oil fields.
A consortium led by the British firm has been in discussions to develop the Rumaila field in the south of the country. The Iraqi cabinet reportedly approved the deal yesterday.
It is believed BP will hold a 38% stake, Chinese firm CNPC will have 37% and Iraq’s State Oil Marketing Organisation will control the rest.
Lindsey German, convenor of the Stop the War Coalition, said: “We always said that this war was at least in part to grab the resources of Iraq despite the wishes of the vast majority of the Iraqi people and the oil workers’ union themselves.
“The oil companies and the governments backing them have decided to privatise the oil industry. It confirms exactly why we went to war in the first place.
“People should look at this and remember all the high flown moral reasons we were given for going to war.”
John Hilary, executive director of War on Want, which campaigned against the privatisation of the Iraqi oil industry, said: “This is why the Iraq war was fought.
“It was fought so companies like BP and Shell could go into Iraq and get hold of these contracts.
“Our concern all along has been that Iraqi oil and Iraqi oil wealth should be there for the benefit of the Iraqi people.”
A BP spokesman said: “We were awarded the contract in June and we have initialled it and passed it to the Iraqi government for their approval.”