A Subtle Warning from Eni

By John Lee.

Paolo Scaroni, the CEO of Italian oil and gas company Eni, spoke out on Wednesday to complain about the difficulties of doing business in Iraq.

"Our adrenaline rush now is not what it was when we entered Iraq", he said ,"[it's] more complex than we first thought."

On one hand, we could disregard this as a minor grumble -- he is still committed to ploughing $18 billion into the Zubair oilfield, so clearly, all things considered, he'd rather be in Iraq than out of it.

But on the other hand, it would be foolish of the Iraqi government to ignore the honest assessment of one of its biggest customers; when even a company as powerful as Eni complains of bureaucracy, sub-standard infrastructure, and political problems, then the complaints have to be taken seriously.

And the government is not ignoring these problems, but progress is much too slow for many people's liking.

The fact that Eni has confirmed that it is not moving to Iraqi Kurdistan, as ExxonMobil is expected to do, can not be seen as an endorsement of the ease of doing business in southern Iraq; if anything, the administration should be glad that it dodged a bullet.

Iraq is a complicated environment, and Upper Quartile and AAIB are the ideal partners to guide your business through the complexities of Iraqi life. For more information please contact Gavin Jones or Adrian Shaw.

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