Imperial Oil is a better pick than Conoco Phillips. Why? Phillips already showed that building the empire is the wish (which increases the paychecks of the empire builders, namely Mulva and assoc.). Moreover, CON is highly risky due to fragility with respect to the Alaska Pipeline. Many ARCO and related investments depend upon a reliable pipeline without major, major oil cleanup expenses. Imperial Oil has valuable oil reserves, and they are much more secure - not depending on a long pipeline in cold, remote areas. A small group of dedicated demolition experts could successfully destroy the Alaska Pipeline and put it out of business for years - not months. Already, some Southeren Irag oil fields are on fire at this moment. IMO is creeping up. Obviously, we are not likely to see oil shipments from Iraq (for the duration of the war, and much longer if oil infrastructure is destroyed). Of course, IMO is mostly owned by Mobil. So, no empire building nonsense (though some captital expenditures, and that is good). No management "free for all" to get unwarranted benefits like stock options (as at CVS). New tax laws to reduce the double tax on dividends will help, because Mobil wants dividends! They get them when they are declared, and so do IMO stockholders.
Some oil will flow out of Iraq prior to the end of the war.
1. The shipping port needs to be secured and cleared of mines. This is being done slowly. Obviously oil going out is less important than equipment and food coming in.
2. Pipelines and wells need to be secured and fixed. This can start to happen when coalition forces get control in the South and North.
3. Eventually, the Iraqis' will be pinned in Baghdad. This might take a few more weeks. Getting Baghdad to surrender might take months after that.
The war has only been on for a week and two of those days were sandstorm periods. I don't think any realistic military planner thought that 6 to 8 divisions of crack Republican Guards could be beaten in one or two weeks with minimal US / British losses.
I don't believe that the potential new tax laws which would reduce the double tax on dividends will affect IMO at all. Reason: IMO does not pay US income tax, hence there is no double tax on dividends in the US. There is no way that the US tax system is going to give us tax credit for the 15% Canadian tax withhold, and also let us have the dividend tax free. On the other hand, the new law would benefit holders of Conoco Phillips. Your thoughts please, I would love to be wrong on this one.