Iraq Names New Deputy Oil Minister

By John Lee.

The former head of the South Oil Company (SOC), Fayadh Hassan Nima [Niama], has been named to replace Ahmad Shamaa [Ahmed al-Shamma] (pictured) as Deputy Oil Minister.

Shamma, whose responsibilities included downstream activities and overseeing the Basra Gas Company -- the  joint venture between Shell, Mitsubishi and the South Gas Company -- had been in the job since shortly after the US-led invasion in 2003, and had reached retirement age.

Nima was removed from his position the the SOC in 2009 following his public criticism of Baghdad's auctioning of oil and gas fields to foreign energy giants, arguing instead that the SOC should be given the task of exploiting the fields in southern Iraq with only technical assistance from foreign companies.

(Sources: The National, Iraq Oil Report, AFP)

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