Iraq Bidding Contracts On Hold As New Oil Team Seeks Reform

Iraqi PM Adil Abd al-Mahdi has sought to shield the critical oil sector from political volatility in his first six months in office. Oil Minister Thamir Ghadhban is implementing a strategic review, revisiting awards from last year’s licensing round.

Since his appointment as Prime Minister in October 2018, Adil Abd al-Mahdi has prioritized reforms to Iraq’s all-important energy sector ( MEES, 26 October 2018 ). As a former oil minister himself, Mr Abd al-Mahdi has a solid grasp of the sector’s challenges, and works closely with Oil Minister Thamir Ghadhban and Electricity Minister Luay al-Khateeb.

But navigating Iraq’s convoluted political landscape is never an easy task – and the prime minister’s tumultuous first six months haven’t proved an exception. Lacking a political power base of his own, as he has a consensus appointment between the two parties which secured the most votes in last year’s parliamentary elections – Muqtada al-Sadr’s Sairoun and Hadi al-Amiri’s Fatah – Mr Abd al-Mahdi’s scope for maneuvering is even more limited than his predecessors. (CONTINUED - 1030 WORDS)


table Iraq's Fifth Licensing Round (April 2018)