Interview with the Chairman of the Advisory Committee to the Prime Minister, and Former Oil Minister, His Excellency Thamir Al Ghadhban.
Reproduced with permission from The Energy Exchange, whose Iraq Future Energy 2010 conference runs from 27-28 September 2010 at the Point Hotel Barbaros, Istanbul, Turkey.
With over 35 years direct and hands on experience and with a career spanning Basra Petroleum Company, Iraq National Oil Company and The Ministry of Oil, The Energy Exchange were delighted recently to have the opportunity to speak exclusively with His Excellency Thamir Al Ghadhban, Chairman, Advisory Commission to the Prime Minister of Iraq and former Minister of Oil to gain a snapshot of his views on the immediate and future development of Iraq’s oil and gas sector.
Q: The Energy Exchange: Mr Al Ghadhban, thank you for taking the time to speak with us today.
We are looking forward to having you join us in Istanbul in just 1 weeks time for our inaugural Iraq 2010: Future Energy where we are delighted that you will be contributing with a formal keynote presentation addressing our audience and helping them to understand the current and future outlook for the Iraqi upstream oil industry.
Ahead of the event, can you outline for us, your thoughts on when we might see the formation of Iraq’s next Government? Are we any closer or do you believe there is still a way to go?
A: Thamir Al Ghadhban: It is true that the formation of the government has taken a long time since the election on 7th March, actually too long to be justified.
In view of the recent development in particular within the United Iraqi Alliance and the possibility that a candidate Prime Minister is going to be named within the next two weeks, it’s possible to say that Yes, we are going to witness the formation of the new government within the next few weeks.
Q: The Energy Exchange: The IOCs involvement in Iraq’s hydrocarbon development is still in its infancy. Do you believe the Ministry of Oil taking on the possible role of a more regulating body in the future will help guide its future development through these early stages?
A: Thamir Al Ghadhban: No doubt at all of that. The Ministry of Oil and also other Federal Ministries as well should concentrate on taking a regulatory role besides their planning, follow up and supervisory roles.
The Council of Ministers has recently approved a Road Map for the restructuring of state owned enterprises (SOEs) which is the first major step towards achieving such goals.
While the upstream oil and gas companies are excluded, other companies such as refining, gas processing and the downstream companies could be included.
Q: The Energy Exchange: There have been recent discussions surrounding the re-establishment of the Iraq National Oil Company (INOC), which would we believe see the creation of one of the largest oil companies in the world.
Do you see this as a positive and essential step forwards in creating a vital backbone to the industry? Upon its formation, in your view, what do you see its main objectives being?
A: Thamir Al Ghadhban: Yes, and a draft law was prepared by a dedicated Committee which was then approved by the Council of Ministers and sent to the Council of Representatives.
No doubt that its re-establishment is an essential step in creating a modern, dynamic and capable upstream industry to handle the great challenges ahead and to achieve production targets.
The main objectives are to manage the oil and gas upstream industry efficiently, carry out the expansion scheme in all its aspects from field development down to export.
INOC from the first day of its re-establishment shall own all the present regional operating companies such NOC, SOC, MOC and any other company to be established in the future.
It is planned as stated in the draft law, to make it an independent company, financially and adminsterally speaking with an empowered management and having all sorts of flexibility including operating outside Iraq.
Mr Al Ghadhban, on behalf of The Energy Exchange, thank you for taking the time to speak with us today and providing us with an insight into your views on Iraq’s oil and gas sector ahead of your speech at Iraq 2010: Future Energy. We very much look forward to hearing further in depth details in Istanbul and to the opportunity of asking some more questions!