Saturday, 29 August 2009

Still more past lessons need to consider

It sounds that the Iraqi Oil Minister, Hussain al-Shahristani has learned from the lessons of his disappointed 1st bidding round and decided to make his 2nd bidding round a success.

Expert Ruba Husari, who runs Iraq Oil Forum called last Tuesday road show presentation in Istanbul for the ten oil projects on offer "impressive" and predicted that the process would be a "straightforward piece of work."

As usual, Husari is ahead of other news agencies in revealing the contents of the offered contracts and other details of the process. One of these things is that the Oil Ministry is now giving the International Oil Companies the right to fully operate the fields.

Another change in the offered contract, which aims at alleviating domestic worries, is to add a clause states that in case of conflict it's the Arabic version of the contract that prevails not the English one, Husari added.

Despite that such changes, and probably many others, in the way of thinking is crucial to win the 2nd bidding round but other changes in the mentality of dealing with the domestic audience is also badly needed.

The Oil Ministry needs to successfully marketing the plans domestically to have the public opinion support and this also needs to learn from previous lessons when oil officials didn't pay attention to that point and then the opponents managed to mess the stage.

The officials need to adopt a new media strategy such as going on public from time to time in foreign and local media outlets and not only talking about the plans when they travel abroad. They need to hold weekly press conferences or round tables or issue statements on the latest developments.

They need also to cooperate with non-governmental organizations that deal with economic issues or universities to organize seminars and meetings on this bidding round. They need to invite proposals from experts whether inside or outside Iraq.

The coming bidding round will be in the core of the January’s elections campaigning and that winning the pubic hearts is vital to be a success.