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Iraq's new prime minister appoints finance minister as acting oil minister

Highlights

Parliament last week postponed voting on oil minister post

PM Kadhimi wants to restore Iraq's shrunken oil market share

He also wants to amend IOC contracts

Iraq's new prime minister has appointed finance minister Ali Allawi as acting oil minister after parliament last week postponed a vote on the oil ministry post in OPEC's second largest producer, an oil ministry spokesperson told S&P Global Platts on Monday.

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Allawi, who had served in previous governments following the US invasion in 2003, was appointed finance minister last week as parliament granted its vote of confidence to Prime Minister Mustafa al-Kadhimi, most members of his cabinet and his government program.

Allawi, a former professor at Oxford University, was appointed by the Interim Iraq Governing Council in 2003 as both minister of trade and minister of defense and remained in his post until 2004. He later served as minister of finance in the Iraqi transitional government from 2005 to 2006.

Kadhimi went through a wide list of candidates for the oil ministry post, all of which were rejected by various political groups.

Iraq is suffering as the oil price crash has slashed its oil export sales to $1.4 billion in April, compared with average monthly income of over $6 billion last year.

Biggest hit

The oil crash is compounded by the coronavirus outbreak, both of which are taking a toll on the country's energy industry.

Iraq took the biggest hit to production for OPEC members in April, losing 110,000 b/d as low fuel demand and a lack of product storage space forced its refineries to severely lower crude runs, according to the latest Platts OPEC survey. Production was 4.54 million b/d in April.

Kadhimi has outlined an ambitious government program, which includes restoring Iraq's oil market share and forming a negotiating delegation to discuss amending technical service contracts with international oil companies operating the country's biggest oil fields in the south.