Last updated: 6 March, 2012

Iraq nominates ex-oil minister as next OPEC chief

Iraq on Tuesday nominated ex-oil minister Thamer al-Ghadban, now Prime Minister Nuri al-Maliki’s chief adviser, as the next secretary general of OPEC, the government spokesman said.

“The Council of Ministers approved the nomination of Thamer al-Ghadban as secretary general of OPEC,” an emailed statement from Ali al-Dabbagh said.

Ghadban, a technocrat, was appointed to head the ministry during the premiership of Iyad Allawi in 2004, in the immediate aftermath of the 2003 US-led invasion.

He left the ministry in 2005 and, if successful, would take up the OPEC post once current Secretary General Abdullah El-Badri’s second three-year term expires at the end of the year.

Ghadban’s nomination comes a day after Iraq said oil production rose above three million barrels per day (bpd) for the first time since 1979, with plans for output to rise to 3.4 million bpd later this year.

Iraqi officials have said the country will be able to produce around 12 million bpd by 2017, though the IMF has said these projections are too high.

Iraq relies on oil sales for the vast majority of government income.