Analysis: Hunt, State talked on Iraq oil

Hunt, a good friend to the Bush family, gets to sign a huge oil deal with permission from the White house. Why am I not surprised.

By BEN LANDO
UPI Energy Editor
WASHINGTON, Oct. 12 (UPI) — A representative from Dallas-based Hunt Oil Corp. did talk with the U.S. State Department prior to signing a controversial oil deal with Iraq’s Kurdistan Regional Government, according to an internal department communication obtained by United Press International.

Hunt Oil, whose chief executive officer is connected to the Bush administration by campaign donations and a seat on an intelligence advisory board, had previously denied the meeting.

The company now says the meeting took place but that Hunt did not seek advice from the U.S. government on investing in a country with the world’s third-largest proven oil reserves.

The Sept. 8 production-sharing contract with the KRG set off Baghdad, which accuses the region of unilaterally and illegally signing oil deals. The Hunt deal wasn’t the first or final such contract signed between private oil companies and the Kurds, who say they have the constitutional right to sign deals and blame Baghdad for its inability to make headway on a national oil law.

The U.S. government has been cautious in comment, aside from maintaining that it hurts their efforts in bolstering the ability of the central government to reconcile and rule the country.

A day after the Kurds announced two more oil deals, with Canadian and French companies, Hunt Chief Executive Officer Ray Hunt told the Wall Street Journal: “The State Department must have been misinformed. … We did not consult with anyone in the (U.S. government) prior to signing our agreement.”

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