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Dallas-Based Hunt Oil Inks Deal with Kurds Print E-mail
by Tom Pauken    Mon, Sep 10, 2007, 12:01 PM

Ray Hunt.jpgAs reported by the Wall St. Journal, Dallas-based Hunt Oil Co. “has struck a deal to explore for oil in Iraq’s semiautonomous Kurdish region, signaling a new willingness by some large western companies to bypass the fractious government in Baghdad and deal directly with the regional authorities in the war-torn country.  The regional government of Kurdistan and Dallas-based Hunt said over the weekend they had agreed to jointly explore for oil in the Kurdish enclave. Hunt, a closely held family concern with a reputation for risk taking, will operate the project, the two sides said.”

What is particularly notable about this energy deal (which circumvents the central government in Iraq) is that Ray Hunt, the CEO of Hunt Oil, sits on President Bush’s Foreign Intelligence Advisory Board and is a longtime financial backer of George W. Bush’s political campaigns.

In addition, Ray Hunt was instrumental in persuading the President to place the Bush Presidential Library in Dallas at SMU. He has made it financially possible for the University to acquire the necessary land for the Bush Library.

Besides serving on the President’s Foreign Intelligence Advisory Board, Ray Hunt also has current and former governmental affairs advisors who have close ties to the President.

James Oberwetter, who formerly ran governmental affairs for the Hunt interests, was Ambassador to Saudi Arabia in the Bush Administration. The current head of governmental affairs for Hunt Oil is Jeanne Johnston Phillips, a longtime Bush fundraiser who served as the President’s Chief of U.S. Mission at the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD) in Paris, France.

Hunt Oil started serious negotiations with the Kurdish regional government earlier this year and quickly reached an accord.

It is clear that Ray Hunt must have cleared this Iraqi oil deal at the highest levels of the Bush Administration before moving forward with an energy development project which is bound to upset Iraqi government officials in Baghdad.

Is this an indication that the Bush Administration plans to move towards a so-called Iraqi solution which would partition the nation into three sections of the country run by the Kurds, Shias and the Sunni’s respectively? Also, this may signal an enhanced U.S. military presence in the Northern sector of Iraq going forward.

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written by Ed Rankin , September 10, 2007

The Iraqi solution seems to be the only viable resolution to the mess over there. The British and Americans have been trying to create a nation out of fractious tribes for far too long. The biggest concern I have for this strategy is it likely puts control of the oil rich Shiite region in the hands of the Iranians. More reason for the US to develop alternatives to petroleum.

written by Sandy McDonough , September 10, 2007

After listening to General's David Petraus today it is clear that since the "surge" violence and deaths throughout Iraq are way down and the Iraq forces are at long last standing up - albeit the local police have not yet. And yes, the Iranians, who are fighting a "de-facto" war are the greatest threat to Iraq and the region. The deal with Hunt Oil is is a positive move toward more cooperation between the two countries to explore the rich oil regions in Iraq and to get more companies into the emerging economy there. With new private initiaves and public policies more money will be available for Iraq as well as corporations. A -win-win situation.

written by Byron George , September 10, 2007

I smell a rat.

written by David A Hill , September 11, 2007

If this sets in motion a new direction that will eventually lead to greater stability for Iraq, then why not. Personally, I don't believe that the three sects (Kurds, Shias, and Sunni’s) will ever act as one for an extended period of time. Sooner or later, one of them will say "I Want It All" and here we go again. Perhaps a country with three semi autonomous states holds a better chance of succeeding. Only time will tell.

written by jjc , September 11, 2007

This is why we are there. Oil.

written by Mr. B , September 13, 2007

I am with Mr. Byron George, I too smell a rat. It has a "no bid" feel to it.

To the gentleman who puts so much weight to the effectiveness of the "surge:" Once we are gone, the place blows up. The murderous scumbags that want to kill everything that moves have far more patience we do. Another thing, to characterize violence & death as "way down," is absurd. Please download Gen. Petraus' graphs. Look, everyone needs success in Iraq, but lets see what happens before anyone draws conclusions or, more importantly, makes policy on such thin data. I am for pulling out & letting the thing blow up sooner. Yes, it will cause incredible instability for a long time, but they need to figure it out themselves. It has been said there is no Thomas Jefferson hiding behind a palm tree waiting to emerge as we fantisize. Another fantasy is that our national security is dependent on success in Iraq.

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