maurice-de-bunsenThe De Bunsen Committee was the first committee established by the British government to determine their policy toward the Ottoman Empire during World War I. It was established on April 8th 1915 by British Prime Minister H.H. Asquith, and was headed by Sir Maurice de Bunsen. The report of the De Bunsen committee established the foundation for British Policy in the Middle East.

Admiral Sir Edmond Slade the Admiralty expert on Middle East oil affairs  testified before the Debunson Committee about the importance of Mesopotamia and oil:

A strip of oil-bearing regions was known to run from the southern extremity of Arabia along the west coast of the Persian Gulf, through the valley of the Tigris and Euphrates, and so on to the northern coast of Asia Minor almost to its European end. There was also known to be a valuable oil district in Palestine to the south of Haifa. It would be sufficient, however, from our point of view if we secured the vilayet of Mosul, as that district contained some very rich oil-bearing lands connecting with the Persian oil fields, which it was essential we should control to prevent undue Competition with the Anglo-Persian Concession. It would of course be necessary to connect the fields by a pipe line with the Mediterranean. . . Haifa would do quite well as the terminus port.

Source: British Cabinet Office (CAB) 27\ 1 British Desiderata in Asiatic Turkey 1915 pg 47 and Wiki