Well there are going to be some winners in this senseless war after all, and guess who it is… Big Oil.

No surprises there, really… The Iraqi government is expected to pay up to $2.5 billion to five top oil companies to increase the country’s oil output by nearly a quarter, a government adviser has admitted.

In what would be the biggest foreign involvement for decades, Baghdad is close to signing technical support contracts with BP, Royal Dutch Shell, Exxon Mobil, Chevron and Total.

Thamir Ghadhban, energy adviser to Iraq’s prime minister, said he expected the contracts, which would add 500,000 barrels per day (bpd) to current production of 2.27 million bpd, would be signed by early next month. “There is a rough estimate that it could cost about $400 to $500 million per field,” he said in an interview.

“So a total could be up to between $2 (billion) and $2.5 billion over two years that should be paid by the government to companies.”

Imagine those grins in Houston and London…