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Iraq Transfers State Oil Firms Ownership To New National Oil Company

Iraq’s Oil Minister Jabbar al-Luiebi decreed on Thursday the transfer of the ownership of nine state-held oil companies from the oil ministry to the newly formed National Oil Company, Reuters quoted oil ministry spokesman Asim Jihad as saying in a statement.

Al–Luiebi is also head of that new national oil company, and he made the decision in his capacity as company chief, not as oil minister, Jihad noted.

The nine companies that will go under the ownership of the new national oil company are state marketing company SOMO, Iraqi Oil Exploration Company, Iraqi Drilling Company, North Oil Company, Midland Oil Company, Basra Oil Company, Dhi Qar Oil Company, Maysan Oil Company, and Iraqi Oil Tankers Company.

Last week, al-Luiebi was appointed president of the INOC.

Earlier this year, the Iraqi Parliament voted to re-establish the national oil company 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.

Iraq is in a government transition period after months of political deadlock following the general elections in May. Earlier this month, the new president of Iraq, Barham Salih, picked a former oil minister and finance minister—Adel Abdul-Mahdi—as Prime Minister-designate.

Abdul-Mahdi called upon outgoing government officials not to sign urgent contracts, make non-essential hires, or make other key decisions, although, according to Reuters, it’s not clear if that call was related to al-Luiebi’s decree to transfer the ownership of the state oil firms to the new umbrella company.

The PM-designate Abdul-Mahdi, meanwhile, said on Wednesday that he would present his picks for the new government for approval next week. Abdul-Mahdi has until early November to form the new Iraqi cabinet.

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By Tsvetana Paraskova for Oilprice.com

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