American base in Basra on frontline of oil boom

The U.S. and British troops and diplomats based at COB Basra see themselves forming a crucial conduit for foreign oil companies entering Iraq's southern oil sector.
BP Iraq President Michael Townshend (r) explains the dynamics of the Rumaila oil field to U.S. Maj. Gen. Vincent Brooks as executives from oil firms such as Italian Eni and diplomats including U.S. Ambassador to Iraq Christopher Hill observe from a rig platform during a late-May 2010 tour. (BEN LANDO/Iraq Oil Report)

CONTINGENCY OPERATING BASE BASRA, IRAQ - Oil executives buzz in and out of this American base, the former British base connected to the Basra airport, some for meetings with officials, some staying the night – or longer.

The American mission in Basra, Iraq's oil capital, is perhaps unlike that of any U.S. outpost in the world: to ensure the world's largest oil companies have as few problems as possible as they start work on Iraqi oil contracts that could see the country become the largest producer ever.

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