In 1971, Iraq nationalized its oil industry. It replaced the Iraq Petroleum Company which was made up of the precursors to BP, Total, Shell and a consortium of American oil companies including what was to become Exxon Mobil and folded their assets into the Iraq National Oil Company. On June 30, 2008, the successor companies were allowed back into Iraq receiving no bid contracts to modernize production in Iraq’s oil fields. The contracts were structured to circumvent the absence of a Petroleum Law, much sought after by the Bush Administration but stymied by conflicts between the central government and the regions, most notably the Kurds. The oil companies would be paid for their work in oil, currently a rapidly appreciating commodity. They would also get a chance to match the bid of any other companies on future contracts. The Bush Administration has said that it did not influence the award of the contracts although officials from the Departments of State, Commerce, Energy, and Interior work in Iraq’s Oil Ministry. USAID also has a contract with Management Systems International to advise the Ministry. Clients of MSI’s parent company Coffrey International include BP and Shell, so no conflict of interest there. Bush has said his invasion of Iraq was never about oil. But does anyone seriously think that Iraq would have been a target if it’s major export had been oranges?