The chairman of the Advisory Commission to the Prime Minister of Iraq and former Minister of Oil, His Excellency Thamir Al Ghadhban, says there is no doubt that the re-establishment of the Iraq National Oil Company (INOC) is an essential step in creating a modern, dynamic and capable upstream industry to handle the great challenges ahead and to achieve production targets.
Thamir Al Ghadhban forms part of a distinguished list of speakers and experts who will discuss the exploration of Iraq’s rich oil and gas fields during Iraq Future Energy 2010, a top meeting of Iraqi government officials, IOCs and technical experts from 27-28 September in Istanbul, as global companies that have won contracts prepare to start the development of various fields.
One of the largest oil companies in the worldThe re-establishment of the INOC will see the creation of one of the largest oil companies in the world. According to Mr Al Ghadhban a draft law has been prepared by a dedicated Committee which was then approved by the Council of Ministers and sent to the Council of Representatives. “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.” He continues: “It is planned as stated in the draft law, to make it an independent company, financially and administratively speaking with an empowered management and having all sorts of flexibility including operating outside Iraq.”
Oil ministry’s future roleAs IOCs’ involvement in Iraq’s hydrocarbon development is still in its infancy, the former Iraqi oil minister believes that 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.
“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,” says Mr Al Ghadhban, “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.” He says that while the upstream oil and gas companies are excluded, other companies such as refining, gas processing and the downstream companies could be included.
Iraq’s next government
Regarding the long-awaited formation of a new Iraqi government following the March elections, Thamir Al Ghadhban feels it has taken “too long to be justified” but thinks the wait may soon be over. “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,” he says.
The complete interview with His Excellency Thamir Al Ghadhban and other top speakers at Iraq Future Energy 2010 are available at: www.theenergyexchange.co.uk/iraq10 
More high-level speakers at Iraq Future Energy 2010 include:
Tahseen Al Shaikhli, Council of Ministers, Civilian Spokesman, Republic of Iraq Kenneth Fairfax, Minister-Counsellor for Economic Affairs, US Embassy Baghdad Salar Ameen, Vice Chairman, Iraq National Investment Commission Mounir Bouaziz, Vice President Commercial New Business, LNG, Middle East and North Africa, Shell EP International Michael Townshend, President Iraq, BP Dr Abdul Hadi Al Hassani, Vice Chairman, Oil and Gas Committee, Iraqi Parliament Baroness Nicholson of Winterbourne, Executive Chairman, IBBC (Iraq Britain Business Council)