The agency says:
Commentators largely agree that the federal authorities have driven a hard bargain with
international oil companies in these contracts. The agreed maximum remuneration fees
are at low levels per barrel of oil produced, meaning that the overwhelming share of
the revenue generated is retained by the government; but this is offset, in part, by the
prospect of high volumes, the expectation that the fields are of such size and quality that
there is little technical risk and the consideration that companies are not taking on price
risk or exploration risk.
In 2009, Time's Vivienne Walt wrote about the beginnings of the lockout. She talked to one anonymous Iraqi official who explained what had happened:
The bidding was extremely tough. My guess is that [the U.S. companies] could not match the offers from others." In Iraq, at least, the victor has no special claim on the spoils of war.