Monday, August 18, 2003

If you're looking for bare objectivity, you're often unlikely to do much better than straight business reporting, which is why this article on Forbes Global is worth reading. Halliburton, it says, might not be enjoying such a bonanza after all. It turns out there are lots of Iraqis who are already pretty good at pumping oil out of the ground. Who woulda thought?
With surprising speed, technocrats at Iraq's state-owned national oil companies are taking charge of reconstruction. And they seem more interested in obtaining U.S. Army patrols than in spending billions on high-tech services and equipment.

'The priority is security for our installations,' says Jabbar A. el-Leaby , director general of the South Oil Co. in Basra....

New technology would be nice, El-Leaby says, but it's not the first thing on his mind. "I have heard about it in the literature," he says of the latest gadgets, with a bored expression on his face. U.S. experts? "We have skilled people here," he says.
A similar story, with fewer hard numbers, appears in today's LA Times. The occupation authority has cancelled plans to create a big international advisory board to oversee the Iraqi oil industry. An unnamed official with the authority says: "Once we got in here and got to know the folks in the Oil Ministry and the employees at the oil companies, it became obvious that the expertise was already there. So the advisory board just became unnecessary."

Gosh, Bush was totally right. Those Iraqis sure are a good and gifted people.


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