Iraq Petroleum Conference 2015 : a New Kind of Dialogue

By Madeleine White, capacity building specialist and co-founder of Nina Magazine

For Arabic please go to arabic.nina-iraq.com

It was the third and final day of last week’s Iraq Petroleum conference, hosted by CWC in London. It was breakfast time and I was just about to take a second bite of my croissant, when the guy next to me, one of the several senior International Oil Company (IOC) executives at my table, shared;

“Of course, Iraq is almost too problematic  – there are easier places to do business…”.

We had spent the day before hearing about Iraq’s vital positioning within global future energy security from speakers at the highest levels of commerce, industry and government. Within this context, this simple aside from a breakfast companion took my breath away. Now, very nearly a week on, during which time Nina-Iraq herself was offline due to a sophisticated cyberattack, I keep coming back to the truth at the heart of his comment, one that although unpalatable needs to be explored more closely. Is Iraq just too difficult?

As many of you will know by now, Oil and Gas isn’t my field. In fact, before attending the conference, I had to google ‘upstream’ and ‘downstream’, in an attempt to get a better understanding of how it all worked! I generally leave the industry specific reporting to our Oil and Gas expert, Samar Whitticombe-Rassam. However, although my understanding of the specifics may be a little shaky, my understanding of the underlying themes that emerged from this important three day event, are slightly less so. If Iraq is seen as too challenging a place to offer a sustained Return on Investment for IOC’s, the core drivers of Iraq’s economy, how can this be combatted and reframed to attract and maintain relationships with stakeholders, both internally and internationally?

In 2008, following the economic crisis, there was a ‘demand shock’, i.e., people were not buying enough oil. There then came a few years which offered some respite, allowing Deputy Prime Minister HE Dr Rowsch Shaways to share Iraq’s 10.3% annual GDP growth with delegates at the 2013 World Islamic Economic Forum. Now however, the picture has changed again. We are living through a ‘supply shock’, which means there is a supply surplus and prices have shot downwards. With Iraq’s federal budget dependent on the ability to sell Oil at the best possible price, this has had catastrophic consequences.

16 Responses to Iraq Petroleum Conference 2015 : a New Kind of Dialogue

  1. Windell June 16, 2015 at 4:04 pm #

    Will someone please explain to me how is it that the IMF has granted Iraq $833M and the Iraqi Dinar remains at the same value…. I’ve invested in the Dinar and I’m holding on to the thought that the Dinar was going to revalue… Yet, I continue to see that everything but the dinar is going in the right direction… Case in point: Bismayha, the New City being built about 6 mile from Bagdad..this contract has to be well over $100B… How is this all happening and the value of the Dinar is going no-where… Please, someone help me to understand

  2. Windell June 16, 2015 at 4:06 pm #

    Will someone please explain to me how is it that the IMF has granted Iraq $833M and the Iraqi Dinar remains at the same value…. I’ve invested in the Dinar and I’m holding on to the thought that the Dinar was going to revalue… Yet, I continue to see that everything but the dinar is going in the right direction… Case in point: Bismayha, the New City being built about 6 mile from Baghdad..this contract has to be well over $100B… How is this all happening and the value of the Dinar is going no-where… Please, someone help me to understand

  3. Alvin June 16, 2015 at 9:13 pm #

    This is not new. We (the all consumed) have “Hope” on our side. We all know Iraq is a struggling country. Thieves, murderers, liars,and always someone trying to take advantage of the consumed. ( Maliki) No different than other countries that has excepted that as a norm.

    The IMF has skin in the game to, just like the US and other govorments that has commited People and resources for the end game. This takes time. Reserch the past that tells how to proceed in the future is the game. Know your people and their intent.

    Iraq is a hugh part of the middle east IF they really want to be.
    If they get the right people in the right place they can define the RIGHT TIME to be on top of the world.

  4. Re da Caste June 16, 2015 at 10:22 pm #

    IOCs are working for free in Kurdistan. This is not acceptable! We investors in the Kurdistan oil industri are bleeding, loosing our money and it seems there is no hope things will turn better. KRG is screeming and threatning a lot but not taking any actions, what we can see.
    I regret I ever invested my savings in Kurdistan.