Thus immediately the door was open for foreign companies to compete with IPC, and negotiations with French and Soviet delegations began in early 1968.
In February 1968, an agreement was signed between the Iraqi government and the French state-owned ELF-ERAP. Under this agreement ELF-ERAP was granted prospecting rights against the payment of US$15 million in about 4,000 square miles of land and off-shore areas formerly held by the IPC in which oil had not been discovered.
The prospecting rights were for a period of six years, followed by a 20 year exploitation period during which half of any discoveries would be retained by Iraq.
When commercial production began, INOC would assume complete control of operations and the French company would assist INOC with marketing.
In return, ELF-ERAP would be permitted to purchase 30 percent of the output at preferential rates.
In a further move, the Iraqi government signed an agreement with the Soviet Union in June 1969.
The Soviets agreed to supply Iraq with equipment, technical assistance and loans for development of its oil reserves. In return, the Iraqi government agreed to repay the Soviets in the form of oil deliveries.
The agreement with the Soviet Union was a clear_ indication that the Iraqis were seeking alternatives to the West for aid, and it also demonstrated that the Soviet Union was capable of offering technical help in the oil industry.
Declassified Iraqi Intel Documents Reveal Ties to French State Owned Oil Company
In 1994, under the leadership of Loik Le Floch-Prigent, the French oil company negotiated lucrative contracts with Iraqi Oil Minister Safa al-Habobi, giving Elf-Acquitaine exclusive rights to the Majnoon oil fields on the border with Iran. Another French government owned company, Total SA--which would later merge with Elf-Acquitaine--was given rights to another oil field. The contracts were worth $100 billion over seven years but were conditioned on the U.N. sanctions being lifted. The major share of oil pumped during the oil-for food regime was done by the now merged Elf-Total SA & Russia's Gazprom.
In 1976 Elf-ERAP became Société National Elf Aquitaine (SNEA), later Elf Aquitaine. Elf Aquitaine was listed on the NYSE in 1991. In 1996 the French government sold its stake, retaining a Golden Share. In 2000 Elf Aquitaine merged with Total Fina to form TotalFinaElf, which changed its name to Total in 2003. In 1993 Elf was awarded the exclusive contract to the Iraqi Oil Fields by then Iraqi leader Saddam Hussein. This has come under fire pre-Iraqi 2003 war. This also dissproves many conspiracy theories about Haliburton's involvement with Iraqi Oil fields. "The biggest fraud inquiry in Europe since World War II" The Elf scandal in France was, according to The Guardian, "the biggest fraud inquiry in Europe since the Second World War. Elf became a private bank for its executives who spent £200 million on political favours, mistresses, jewellery, fine art, villas and apartments".