Attempts to stitch up Iraq's oil in production-sharing agreements that favour western corporations, as documented by intrepid campaigners (and reported in articles like Iraq Labor vs. ExxonMobil, BP and Shell), may be real enough. But in the present context I wonder if this is missing the point.
Firstly, much of the oil in southern Iraq is reportedly beyond central government control, and funding local players instead.
Secondly, for deals favouring big foreign corporations to prevail, the American coalition would have to win the war. This looks unlikley. In Foreign Policy (Who wins in Iraq?), contributors argue with varying degrees of plausibility that one or more of Iran, Moqtada al Sadr, Al Qaeda, China, Arab Dictators, United Nations, Old Europe or Israel is/are the winners. (David Frum washes his hands of democracy promotion and retreats into Manichaeism that presumably will justify more bombing in his mind. Bill Emmott argues that the price of oil won - but for him this appears to mean principally the Gulf States and other big producers, not the Western multinationals)
Of course the show ain't over yet. In his most recent article, Seymour Hersch reports Martin Indyk as saying “The White House is not just doubling the bet in Iraq. It’s doubling the bet across the region. This could get very complicated.”
It could get a little more lumpy, then, before Exxon & co can get their oil from what Sir Arthur Harris used to call "Mespot".