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May 02, 2006 04:15PM
http://service.spiegel.de/cache/international/spiegel/0,1518,413981,00.html

On the Verge of Collapse

By Bernhard Zand

The British and the Americans are guarding Iraq's Persian Gulf oil platforms -- the troubled country's only real sources of revenue -- like crown jewels. But Iraqi oil is flowing sluggishly at best, while hoped-for investments haven't materialized and the Iraqi oil industry is on the verge of collapse -- both technical and political........

.........Experts describe the condition of the oil wells themselves in even more dramatic terms. Saddam began a policy of overexploitation of Iraq's oil resources in the 1980s that included neglecting to replace depleted oil with gas or water to maintain the necessary pressure in the wells. Many of the approximately 850 oil wells in southern Iraq are now "dead" and, with the exception of the West Kurna reservoir, all so-called super-giant fields are exhausted, writes oil engineer Abd al-Jabbar al-Halfi. "We milked them like cows -- but without giving them anything to eat."
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