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United Press: Shell denies Iraq war oil profits

Published: March 19, 2008 at 3:27 PM

WASHINGTON, March 19 (UPI) — Shell has rejected accusations the increased price of oil, and thus profits, can be linked directly to the Iraq war.

In a letter to the advocacy group Consumers for Peace, the company also said it won’t transfer the so-called war profits to a special fund as the organization requested.

“The proposals in your letter are based on the contention that there is a direct causal relationship between profits achieved by some oil companies in the last few years and increases in the oil price linked to some degree to the war in Iraq,” Shell Corporate Affairs Director Roxanne Decyk wrote in the letter obtained by United Press International. “We reject this contention.”

Decyk said there were “many and various factors” that move the price of oil.

Geopolitics, the value of the dollar, increased demand, tight supply and traders are all considered players in the price of oil, which sold in the high $50 per barrel range a year ago and is now more than $100 per barrel.

Consumers for Peace Director Nick Mottern asked Shell in a letter to pay $28 billion “into a fund that will make direct payments to families of Iraqi, U.S. and other coalition war dead and wounded.” He said the amount was his calculation of “war profit for the last five years.” Mottern said he’s sent similar letters to BP and ExxonMobil. All three are in negotiations with the Oil Ministry for short-term contracts.

The letter also called on the companies to urge Congress to cut all war funding except what’s needed to fully withdraw from Iraq and stop pressing the Iraqi government to pass the draft oil law. Mottern’s group and many other campaigners and Iraqi civil society groups say the law will open up Iraq’s oil reserves to foreign companies.

The letter also asks Shell to stop advocating the law.

“Shell is not, nor has it engaged in any lobbying about what specific form the legislation should take,” Decyk wrote, “but it is no secret that we, alongside other oil companies, hope to see a legislative framework in place as soon as possible.”

The oil law is stalled in Parliament largely over what role foreign firms should play in Iraqi oil.

Ben Lando, UPI Energy Editor

(e-mail: [email protected])

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