Iraqis Nix Saddam-Era Deal
The Iraqi government has voided a contract with the Russian company LukOil to develop the West Qurna oil field.
The field is estimated to hold 11 million barrels of untapped reserves.
The contract was signed in 2002 while Saddam Hussein was still in power.
It was then rescinded by the Hussein government shortly before the American invasion.
Mr. Hussein had been angered that LukOil brokered agreements with opposition groups in the event that his regime might fall.
The Russian government has called the decision an "outrage."
Energy, Politics and Russian Nationalization
There has been growing concern in the West about the role of state-run energy companies in serving the Kremlin's political interest.
In August, the Kremlin leveraged the last independent oil entrepreneur, Mikhail Gutseriev, out of the country and swallowed up RussNeft, a company that represented a mere 3% of the Russian oil production market.
Last October the state-run gas monopoly GazProm suddenly announced an unpaid $1.3 billion Ukrainian debt and threatened to cut off Ukrainian gas supplies.
The surprise debt was announced the day after after pro-West parties triumphed in Ukrainian parliamentary elections.