Sunday, 21 February 2010

Don't get them wrong please!

Who can make more than £13 million in five days? Yes, you are right, he's our friend Ashti Hawrami, the Minister of Natural Resources in Iraq's Kurdistan Regional Government who himself a "British businessman."

The latest in Hawrami's scandals came today in a story published in the Times Online Web site about a secret trading shares in the U.K.'s Heritage Oil which holds a production-sharing contract in the region where Hawrami, UNFORTUNATELY, oversees its oil and gas development plans.

What Hawrami did in autumn 2008 was very simple: he bought the shares for £12,095,850 and started selling them five days later after the company announced that it had struck oil. The shares were sold for £25,070,709...WOW WHAT A SMART BUSINESSMAN YOU ARE MR. HAWRAMI!

The first scandal in Hawrami's controversial oil deals was last year when it was revealed that he acted as a secret buyer for shares in the Norway's DNO which also has a production-sharing contract in Kurdistan. He sold them later to Turkey's Genel Enerji.

As I said in one of my September's posts after DNO scandal, there is nothing in the Iraqi law allows Hawrami or even the KRG to involve in any commercial activities.

By these acts, Hawrami breaches Iraq's Penalty Law No. 111 in 1969 and the Civil-servant Disciplinary Law No. 14 in 1991. Both laws say that any civil servant in the Iraqi government, from the lowest levels to the president of the state, has no right by any mean to practice any work outside his governmental job especially the commercial activities.

And as I forecast in that post, more scandals will be revealed about this controversial Businessman-Minister and the level of corruption in the KRG officials who are alleging that what they are doing is for "all Iraqi people," not for their pockets.

So don't get them wrong please!

Tuesday, 2 February 2010

The first part of reviving Iraq's oil sector story is done

There is no doubt that Iraq's eleven mega oil deals _ one a revived Saddam Hussein-era deal and ten resulted from two auctions _ and their vast investment commitments and expected bonanza will grant the country's Oil Minister Hussein Al-Shahristani a place in Iraq's modern history.

The nuclear scientist is the first Iraqi Oil Minister to orchestrate such plans that ended up with putting more than half of Iraq's proven 115 billion barrels in the hands of International Oil Companies for development. He managed to attract their sorely needed technology and money according his terms.

With these deals, he started his elections campaign for the March 7 parliamentary elections early despite his statements to The Wall Street Journal in a June 2009 interview when he said that he was planning to quit politics when ends his term to return to the Iraqi National Academy of Science, which he established in 2003.

His first public appearance outside the Oil Ministry building was last month at the University of Baghdad to talk about the deals. His second appearance was last Saturday before a group of Iraqi economists where a white woman with green eyes who was wearing Hijab and long cloak, believed to be his Canadian wife, was accompanying him.

Few hours later of that day, he appeared before a gathering of normal people in Taji area just few kilometers north of Baghdad also to talk about the deals and the job opportunities which will be created and the expected revenues to build new infrastructure.

I think Al-Shahristani has done his job perfectly by successfully completing the first part of Iraq's efforts to revive its rundown oil industry and the next step will be left to the next government which should cooperate with these companies and most importantly it should know where and how to spend each pence of the coming revenues.