The documents were not offered as evidence in the ongoing Chilcot Inquiry into the UK’s involvement in the Iraq war. In March 2003, just before Britain went to war, Shell denounced reports that it had held talks with Downing Street about Iraqi oil as “highly inaccurate”. BP denied that it had any “strategic interest” in Iraq, while Tony Blair described “the oil conspiracy theory” as “the most absurd”.
But documents from October and November the previous year paint a very different picture.
Five months before the March 2003 invasion, Baroness Symons, then the Trade Minister, told BP that the Government believed British energy firms should be given a share of Iraq’s enormous oil and gas reserves as a reward for Tony Blair’s military commitment to US plans for regime change.
I hope it doesn’t take another eight years before we get documented proof about what a huge role oil played in the decision to launch a war kinetic military action in Libya.
After all, Libya doesn’t just have the largest oil reserves in Africa, but due to its oil lease and tax structure the government of Libya takes one of the largest shares its oil profits compared to other countries. It isn’t a stretch to assume international oil companies should get at least a marginally better deal with any new government NATO helps install.