Four big oil companies chucked out of Iraq by Saddam Hussein 36 years ago are ready to return, the New York Times reports. BP, Exxon Mobil, Shell and Total are about to announced winning coveted no-bid contracts to service Iraqi oil fields. The contracts are short-term, but the firms hope to significantly boost the country's oil production and win even bigger deals to develop huge new fields.
The oil giants, who lost their access to Iraq's vast oil reserves when the country nationalized the industry, are being awarded the contracts as a stop-gap measure while the government is stuck in stalemate over a new oil law. Foreign expertise could help Iraq more than double its oil output within a few years, helping to stem surging oil prices, analysts believe.