America – your tax dollars have been well spent. What can you buy with one trillion dollars? No-bid contracts:

Nearly Four Decades Later, U.S. Oil Companies Return to Iraq

Four oil companies are in the final stage of contract negotiations to regain drilling rights in Iraq — thirty-six years after they lost them. Exxon Mobil, Shell, Total and BP — founding partners in the Iraq Petroleum Company — are currently in talks with Iraq’s Oil Ministry “for no-bid contracts to service Iraq’s largest fields.” Joining them are Chevron and several smaller oil companies. The deal is expected to be approved by the end of the month and “will lay the foundation for the first commercial work for the major companies in Iraq since the American invasion, and open a new and potentially lucrative country for their operations.” The no-bid process has frozen out 40 other oil companies, including Indian, Russian and Chinese competitors. A spokesperson for the Oil Ministry said that “the no-bid contracts were a stop-gap measure to bring modern skills into the fields while the oil law was pending in Parliament.” He added that the companies chosen already had a relationship with the government, “advising the ministry without charge for two years before being awarded the contracts.” While the current contracts are relatively small, they represent a foot in the door for much more lucrative future deals.

Source: New York Times, June 19, 2008 via Center for Media and Democracy