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Iraq’s New Oil Minister Offers Solution to Kurdish Energy Dispute

Iraq oil

Jabbar al-Luaibi, head of Iraq’s state-run South Oil Company, has been named the new oil minister for Iraq.

The Iranian parliament approved the appointment on Monday. According to deputy speaker Humam Hamoudi, the move is part of the reorganization of Iraq’s government. Al-Luaibi is replacing Adel Abdul Mahdi.

Al-Luaibi’s appointment comes at a time when Iraq is coping with the effects of a war against ISIS- a war which has put a stop to investments in its production of crude oil. Iraq is the second biggest producer in OPEC, and has the fifth largest oil reserves in the world. In addition to the government’s fight against ISIS, which has seized parts of northern Iraq, state coffers have felt the pinch of declining oil prices over the last two years along with a decline in oil production.

According to Bloomberg, in July, Iraq produced 4.36 million barrels a day. At the end of 2015, the country was producing 4.44 million barrels a day.

Following his appointment on Monday, al-Luaibi offered some hope in terms of Iraq’s oil-related issues in the conflict with the Kurdish self-rule area—an area of which the government wants control. He told a Baghdad television station that "There are solutions to the existing problems between the federal government and the Kurdistan Regional Government about the oil file."

The Kurdish region exports around 500,000 barrels per day.

In related news, Iraq announced over the weekend that it had started the operation of a new processing plant for the oilfields in its south eastern area. Those new plants will be powered by natural gas. All future Misan fields will be connected to the new plant.

Lincoln Brown for Oilprice.com

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