Q&A: Thamir Ghadhban, Iraq’s Deputy Prime Minister for Energy and Minister of Oil

As Iraq pursues energy independence, the country's oil chief is streamlining the bureaucracy, crafting new investment incentives, and preparing to award mega-projects.
Thamir Ghadhban, then-Deputy Prime Minister for Energy Affairs and Oil Minister (center), tours the Karbala refinery that is currently under construction, on May 2, 2019. (Source: Iraqi Oil Ministry media office)

LONDON - Eight months after taking the helm of Iraq's Oil Ministry and becoming deputy prime minister for energy, Thamir Ghadhban is streamlining the bureaucracy and implementing plans to feed new energy demand at home and abroad.

In an exclusive interview with Iraq Oil Report, Ghadhban discussed several of the ministry's strategic priorities -- including the imminent Heads of Agreement with ExxonMobil for a multi-billion dollar upstream development and infrastructure project, an initiative to revamp incentives for refinery investors, and key projects that will support the growth of Iraq's gas sector.

Ghadhban is well positioned to take bold steps. After serving twice as oil minister between 2003 and 2005, he oversaw the development of a landmark national energy strategy in 2012, and served as the chief economic advisor to two prime ministers.

On the sidelines of the CWC Iraq Petroleum conference in London, Ghadhban explained the work he has done behind the scenes to transform the ministry into an organization capable of implementing his vision. He also discussed his appetite for new upstream deals, including the projects awarded in the ministry's fifth bidding round and the potential for a sixth.

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