More than five years after the U.S.-led invasion, Iraq is now beginning the process of developing new oil and gas fields.
To widespread suspicion, because U.S. advisers were involved, the Iraqi oil ministry signed preliminary no-bid contracts with five major Western oil companies.
That is to prepare for open bidding by 35 foreign companies on long-term contracts to manage a half dozen huge oil fields. Assuming the security situation continues to improve, these oil fields could have a significant positive impact on world oil markets.
The oil ministry has vowed contract negotiations will be transparent, and the deals will be submitted to parliament for approval. That plus paranoia in Iraq about Western motives should go some way to ensuring that these deals work out best for the people of Iraq.