“Protect Iraq’s energy infrastructure against internal sabotage or foreign attack to return Iraq to global energy markets and ensure that U.S. and world energy markets have access to its resources.” 
Anything that says otherwise in the corporate or state press is just propaganda and/or lies. Period.
The point where oil took centre stage was at the beginning of the 20th century when the world’s most powerful imperial navies -- the German and British -- switched from burning coal to burning oil.
From that point on the destinies of Persia and the Arab world irrevocably became central to Western imperial ambitions, so much so that to this day we are living (and dying) with the results, most notably the Palestinians and the Iraqis, not to mention two World Wars where oil was central for all the combatants, not only to fight with but to control.
“Rarely discussed, however, is the fact that the strategic geopolitical objectives of Britain, well before 1914, included not merely the crushing of its greatest industrial rival, Germany, but, through the conquest of war, the securing of unchallenged British control over the precious resource which, by 1919, had proved itself as the strategic raw material of future economic development—petroleum.” -- ‘A Century of War’, F William. Engdahl, p.38. 
Oil extended the range of imperial navies to encompass the globe without the need to refuel, enabling Britain’s navy to take complete control of the world’s oceans and trade routes. One of WWI’s objectives was to deny Germany access to the newly discovered oil fields in what is now Iran. This meant controlling access to the Middle East where British control of the Suez Canal (‘stolen’ from the French) eventually determined the destiny of the people of Palestine and indeed the entire Middle East.
Of course oil is only one component but without it nothing else functions, least of all a mechanized military. No oil, no anything the modern world depends on.
“The Feb. 17, 2007, Energy Bulletin detailed the oil consumption just for the Pentagon’s aircraft, ships, ground vehicles and facilities that made it the single-largest oil consumer in the world. At the time, the U.S. Navy had 285 combat and support ships and around 4,000 operational aircraft. The U.S. Army had 28,000 armored vehicles, 140,000 High-Mobility Multipurpose Wheeled Vehicles, more than 4,000 combat helicopters, several hundred fixed-wing aircraft and 187,493 fleet vehicles. Except for 80 nuclear submarines and aircraft carriers, which spread radioactive pollution, all their other vehicles run on oil.” 
The corporate media would have you believe that anyone who cries ‘Oil!’ when Iraq comes up is some kind of nut, akin to alien abductees, a ‘conspiracist’ no less.
In 2003 when the USUK invaded Iraq I was struck by the desperate pleas in the corporate press that the invasion had nothing to do with oil, accusing those who asserted that oil had everything to do with the invasion were nutty conspiracists living no doubt in Area 51.
“Conspiracy theories abound…. Others claim it was inspired by oil…. [This] theor[y] [is] largely nonsense.” -- The Independent, April 16, 2003.
By contrast, the oil companies were not backward in coming forward concerning the central role of oil in the invasion of Iraq, echoing what the suits over at the Heritage Foundation were saying:
“I would say that especially the U.S. oil companies…look forward to the idea that Iraq will be open for business [after the overthrow of Saddam],” says an executive from one of the world’s largest oil companies.”
“What they [the neo-conservatives in the Bush administration] have in mind is denationalization, and then parceling Iraqi oil out to American oil companies…. We take over Iraq, install our regime, produce oil at the maximum rate and tell Saudi Arabia to go to hell.” -- James E. Akins, former U.S. ambassador to Saudi Arabia.
“It’s probably going to spell the end of OPEC.” Shoshana Bryen, director of special projects for JINSA (Jewish Institute for National Security Affairs) after the fall of Iraq and the privatisation of its oil, that is.”
“American companies will have a big shot at Iraqi oil,” -- Ahmed Chalabi in the Washington Post.
In “The Future of a Post-Saddam Iraq: A Blueprint for American Involvement,” a series of Heritage Foundation documents, sets out a plan for the privatisation of Iraq’s oil and indeed the privatisation of its entire economy. 
Is it a conspiracy?
Well it depends what you mean by the word. The dictionary definitions are as follows:
1. the act of conspiring.
2. an evil, unlawful, treacherous, or surreptitious plan formulated in secret by two or more persons;
3. a combination of persons for a secret, unlawful, or evil purpose.
4. Law. an agreement by two or more persons to commit a crime, fraud, or other wrongful act.
5. any concurrence in action; combination in bringing about a given result.
I would have thought that collectively all fit the description of the invasion of Iraq, after all Bush and Blair conspired to deceive the world by fabricating evidence of Iraq’s WMD in order to illegally invade the country. They conspired (with others) to destroy a country and steal its resources, ergo: a conspiracy.
That said, there are those who go much, much further, asserting that there is a global conspiracy extending back at least one hundred years and consisting of the political classes of the US and the UK who along with powerful banking and energy conglomerates have sought to control the planet, its resources, markets and labour. But is it a conspiracy or merely imperialism doing what it does best; plunder, murder and colonize? In other words, do we need a conspiracy to explain events? And what if it is a global conspiracy extending back well over a century? It doesn’t change anything, we are still confronted with the same forces.
The proper question to ask is: Why does the corporate/state media insist on using the word conspiracy to pour derision on anyone who questions the prevailing orthodoxy? The answer is immediately obvious: the word conspiracy has been distorted to mean not its dictionary definition but any and all who challenge the reasons supplied by our political masters as to why things happen.
History is littered with all manner of state and/or corporate conspiracies from the Reichstag Fire to the Tonkin Gulf provocation, to the CIA/ITT’s overthrow of Allende in Chile, to Iraq’s non-existent WMD, hence the need to decouple oil and Iraq/Iran/Afghanistan just in case people come to the right conclusions as to why things happen.
Thus language is mutilated to serve the objectives of the corporate class and it’s aided by the real conspiracy nuts who see everything as a conspiracy, sometimes stretching back centuries and involving secret cabals of one kind or another. Connecting the left to this crew serves to degrade our argument and surely this is the objective.
There is no doubt that the international criminal class liase, plot and plan, this is what the Council on Foreign Relations (CFR) is all about as is Chatham House (Royal Institute of International Affairs), the UK equivalent and both organizations were setup in the opening decades of the 20th century as the ‘Anglo-Saxon Alliance’ firmed up. A roll call of CFR members illustrates the fact that major Western governments are all effectively servants of Big Capital.
Likewise with the Bilderberg group, composed of international ‘captains of industry’ and key policy makers of the political classes of the leading capitalist states. But is it a conspiracy? On one level no, after all, it’s quite legitimate for the ruling classes to plan and organize, this is why Washington DC is bursting at the seams with all manner of ‘Foundations’ and ‘Think Tanks’. Since the end of WWII billions of dollars of public and private finance has poured into these organizations. Their objective? To spread the ‘free market’ and to counter all opposition by fair means or foul.
‘“…the most powerful men in the world met for the first time” in Oosterbeek, Netherlands [over fifty years ago], “debated the future of the world,” and decided to meet annually in secret. They called themselves the Bilderberg Group with a membership representing a who’s who of world power elites, mostly from America, Canada, and Western Europe with familiar names like David Rockefeller, Henry Kissinger, Bill Clinton, Gordon Brown, Angela Merkel, Alan Greenspan, Ben Bernanke, Larry Summers, Tim Geithner, Lloyd Blankfein, George Soros, Donald Rumsfeld, Rupert Murdoch, other heads of state, influential senators, congressmen and parliamentarians, Pentagon and NATO brass, members of European royalty, selected media figures, and invited others – some quietly by some accounts like Barack Obama and many of his top officials.” -- ‘The True Story of the Bilderberg Group’ By Daniel Estulin. 
It is clear that modern capitalism has evolved over several overlapping generations with all the appearance of a conspiracy in the broadest sense and of the most sophisticated kind, employing a vast army of operatives that include key elements of the media, academia, business and policymakers both within and outside government. A ‘conspiracy’ to maintain capitalism as the only permissible form of society, how could it be otherwise? There is simply too much at stake and for proof of this we need only look at how this powerful international business/government/media elite conspired to kill COP15 regardless of the consequences.
Family, education and business ties—with the state as ‘mediator’—have created what is now an international network that connects the ruling classes of the most powerful capitalist states, that’s why they have a Bilderberg Group, it’s where business heads, the political class, selected media and academics can meet and formulate strategies and tactics, necessary in a world where communications are now virtually instantaneous. It won’t do to have governments making statements that are out of line with the ‘consensus’, as happens from time to time and the illusion briefly shattered.
In a world where the dominant economic forces are a couple of hundred or so major corporations, corporations that de facto, ensure that their respective governments enact policies favourable to their survival and increasing prosperity for the major shareholders, the logical thing to do is to combine over issues that affect them all. I would be extremely surprised if the Bilderberg Group or something like it, didn’t exist.
And the issues are plain to see: Access to and control/ownership of resources; access to cheap labour; free movement of capital; and last but not least, neutralizing challenges to the rule of capital wherever they appear.
Arrayed against us, the people, is a vast apparatus of control and manipulation that embraces governmental, ‘non’-governmental, private foundations, the media, state and corporate, ‘entertainment’ in all it’s wondrous forms, think tanks, institutes, foundations, academia, formal and informal bodies, both national and transnational, associations, ngos and ‘ngos’, charities and ‘charities’, all of which are heavily subsidized by the state and/or corporations. Who needs ‘The Illuminati’ when we have all this arrayed against us?
 I think the best (and most succinct) analysis of this period has been made by F. William Engdahl in his ‘A Century of War’ Anglo-American Oil Politics and the New World Order’