If protecting the commercial interests of American oil companies and getting more oil onto the market were prime objectives of the Bush administration, sanctions would be lifted against Iran and Libya. Orchestrating an invasion and change of regime in Iraq is a risky enterprise fraught with uncertainty about the short and medium term stability of key producing countries. The bounty of oil in Iraq will not be of any value for investors until that stability is ensured.
Iraq is not the panacea of the oil market; it supplies about two percent of world needs. If sanctions were lifted and the existing production and transport infrastructure repaired, that share could rise to four percent over the subsequent three years, at a cost of approximately $5.5 billion. With massive investment in a stable climate, the contribution could increase to six or seven percent over ﬁve to ten years.