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Iraq Oil Minister Reverses INOC Decision

Iraq Oil Minister Reverses INOC Decision Iraq Oil Minister Reverses INOC Decision

Iraqi Oil Minister Jabar al-Luaibi has reversed his decision to transfer the ownership of nine state-owned oil companies from the ministry to the newly formed Iraq National Oil Company, the ministry said on Saturday. 

He told state TV in an interview that Iraq hopes to produce 7 million barrels of oil a day through the Iraq National Oil Company and export 4 million bpd in 2019, Reuters reported.

The reversal of the transfer decision would enable the incoming government of Prime Minister-designate Adel Abdul Mahdi to make its own decisions in the oil sector, the ministry said in a statement. Luaibi is the oil minister in the outgoing government led by Prime Minister Haider al-Abadi. 

A senior Iraqi oil official told Reuters that Abdul Mahdi had been annoyed by the original transfer decision which had been “made in a rush and without his approval.”
 
Luaibi had issued a decree on Thursday transferring ownership of nine state-owned oil companies, including state oil marketer SOMO, to the National Oil Company.
 
On the same day, Abdul Mahdi, who has the task of forming a new government after months of political deadlock following a May election, called on officials in the outgoing government to refrain from signing urgent contracts, making non-essential hires, or other key decisions.
 
The government last week named Luaibi as head of the new company, which is to serve as an umbrella organization for state oil firms. Luaibi currently holds both the position of minister and company chief. 

Parliament voted in March to set up the company, which is meant to manage Iraq’s upstream operations and free up the ministry to be able to make plans and strategies for developing the key sector. 

Earlier this year, the Iraqi Parliament voted to re-establish the INOC that was dissolved back in 1987, when it became part of the oil ministry. The new oil company will manage the upstream operations in Iraq, while the oil ministry will be in charge of the strategic and regulatory decisions.

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