So maybe the war wasn't about the oil -- at least not in the way you might expect:
Employees of South Oil, Iraq's leading oil producer before the war, are now idle because looting has brought most of the company to a standstill.
"The other day, there was looting and sabotage at the North Rumaila field," Mr. Leaby said. "The day before that, at the Zubayr field. For three months, I've been talking, talking, talking about this, and I'm sick of it."
This is now the state of the Iraqi oil industry, custodian of the world's third largest oil reserves — an estimated 112 billion barrels — and the repository of hope for the United States-led alliance and the Iraqi people themselves. Money from oil, the Bush administration has said repeatedly, will drive Iraq's economic revival, which in turn will foster the country's political stability. Many Iraqis agree.
Yet from the vast Kirkuk oil field in the north to the patchwork of rich southern fields around Basra, Iraq's oil industry, once among the best-run and most smartly equipped in the world, is in tatters.
Looting, sabotage and the continued lack of security at oil facilities are the most recent problems the industry and its American overseers must address in order to get petroleum flowing again, especially for export....
--New York Times
It sure seems as if no one's in a rush to turn this situation around:
Last Tuesday, Halliburton workers at Garmat Ali tested for the first time the new pumps and filters they started to install a week earlier to send water to the refinery to wash the oil.
A half-dozen burly Halliburton workers, some with ponytails and neon-bright bandanas, struggled to secure a large hose to a concrete platform using chains and ropes. Someone turned on the pump, and water gushed out of the open hose. "Now we're talking!" said Roger Davis, the Halliburton safety coordinator at the site.
But the equipment the Americans have brought is only "5 percent of what we had before," said Adnan Hussein, a South Oil engineer who works at Garmat Ali. The other equipment still needed is for injecting water into the Rumaila fields.
The Army Corps of Engineers has not set a date for starting that project....
At South Oil's headquarters, Mr. Leaby questioned how any repairs could hold when security was so threadbare. "Every minute, we have something missing," he said. "Every time we fix something, it gets looted."
Is this yet another result of Donald Rumsfeld's obsession with keeping troop strength low?
And do the high muckamucks at Halliburton not care because the contract to pump the oil is the real asset they wanted? Do they not care how much they pump, or how soon, because this contract is lucrative no matter what?