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TotalEnergies takes hard line with Iraq on GGIP

CEO frames negotiations as a test of Iraq's ability to prioritize respect for contracts over political expedience.
Then-Prime Minister Mustafa al-Kadhimi (center) oversees TotalEnergies CEO Patrick Pouyanné (left) signing one of four deals with Iraq's Oil and Electricity ministries on Sept. 5, 2021. (Source: Prime Minister's Media Office)

TotalEnergies CEO Patrick Pouyanné broke his silence about fraught negotiations with Iraq over a $27 billion set of energy deals, framing the issue as a test of the state's ability to respect contracts through changing governments and shifting political winds.

Speaking on March 21 during a presentation on the French energy major’s sustainability and climate strategy, Pouyanné said he had held several rounds of discussions with the Baghdad government and was now waiting for a “political decision” from the Iraqi government before he would proceed.

“I will tell you the truth — we have a debate about the contract we signed," Pouyanné said. "Iraq is not the easiest place to invest. We know the risk. For me, as I said to the authorities, the continuity of the voice of the state of Iraq is fundamental. We signed the contract in September 2021 with one government. We knew there were elections after. It was a test: will this contract go through the change of government?”

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