The statement last week from Iraq’s Oil Minister, Ihsan Abdul Jabbar, that the newly resurrected Iraqi National Oil Company (INOC) has been given government approval to acquire ExxonMobil’s 32.7 percent stake in the supergiant West Qurna 1 oil field for up to US$350 million is likely to leave China delighted, the U.S. irritated, and Iraq’s oil industry still unable to achieve any of its key oil output goals. The last iteration of the INOC – created in 1966, before it was effectively closed down in 1987, with its remnants incorporated into the Ministry of Oil (MoO) – was founded on a mandate that included elements that seemed geared towards enabling malpractice of one kind and another. In particular, Article 12 of the law relating to the establishment of INOC contained, as highlighted by the former senior economist with Iraq’s MoO, and subsequently head of the Oslo-based Development Consultancy & […]