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2020 Conference Highlights

Proudly Shaping Iraq’s Oil & Gas Industry for over 14 Years


Maintaining the continuity of this remarkable event for Iraq’s oil and gas sector has been of particular importance under current circumstances and despite the difficulties.

The event took place virtually in compliance with global health and safety advice and welcomed more than 200 Government and industry leaders including HE Ihsan Abduljabbar Ismaael Al-Saade, HE Matthew H. Tueller, HE Ulric Shannon​ and Ambassador Stephen Hickey.

This year’s agenda was inspired by Iraq’s substantial potential to become a global powerhouse and a stabilising force in the global markets. Over two days of this virtual conference, Delegates and Speakers have been working together to drive economic development and bring real opportunities for all Iraqis


Highlights from the 2020 Iraq Petroleum Conference


The keynote session highlighted the important role of Iraq in the global energy landscape and was joined by: 
  • HE Ihsan Abduljabbar Ismaael Al-Saade, Minister of Oil, Ministry of Oil, Federal Government of Iraq
  • Matthew M. Zais, PhD. Principal Deputy Assistant Secretary, Office of International Affairs, US Department of Energy
  • HE Matthew H. Tueller, S. Ambassador to Iraq, United States Embassy, Iraq
  • HE Ulric Shannon, Ambassador of Canada to Iraq
  • Her Majesty’s Ambassador to Iraq Stephen Hickey, Baghdad
HE Ihsan Abduljabbar Ismaael Al-Saade opened the keynote session with powerful remarks, thanking Iraq Petroleum for providing adequate digital means for the industry to meet again, despite challenges.
His Excellency announced that:

“INOC is currently reorganised, there is a change in the law (…) We started to create a new mega company (…) Q3 2021 to Q1 2022 will see that INOC leading the Upstream industry in Iraq (…) this will be another added value to Iraq’s economy (…) We think that IOCs will be more happy than the current situation.”

“Without welcoming the external fund we will not manage the development of the oil sector, we have daily meetings with the IOCs to facilitate their investment, we believe that the partnership with the IOCs and we believe in win-win scenario with the IOCs.”

Matthew M. Zais, Ph.D. Principal Deputy Assistant Secretary, Office of International Affairs, US Department of Energy:

“Iraq is at a cross roads and everyone is watching (…)  I remain hopefully optimistic for Iraq’s future … Iraq’s future is not as it’s its past (…) Iraq is a leading producer of Oil in the world (…)”

“We have seen more progress in Iraq’s energy sector over the last 2 months (…) more than we have seen in the past 2 years.”

HE Matthew H. Tueller, U.S. Ambassador to Iraq, United States Embassy, Iraq

“The Prime Minister’s visit to Washington and his meeting with President Trump on August 19th was an important signal of his determination to forge strong ties with the United States. At the same time, the parallel hierarchy delegation that participated in our broader strategic dialogue and met with high level members of the executive and legislation branches helped forge deeper commercial ties between our two countries.”

HE Ulric Shannon, Ambassador of Canada to Iraq

“Canada considers Iraq an important partner and will support you.”

Her Majesty’s Ambassador to Iraq Stephen Hickey, Baghdad

“We look forward to launching the Iraq economic contact group for the G7 and for IFI to support economic reform in Iraq. Huge interest from British Companies in Iraq.”

Other Conference Highlights

The agenda touched upon the ever-changing digital landscape. The participants of the discussion acknowledged that the operational technology and industry know-how will become the core competitive strengths in the energy industry.

Alaa Elshimy, Managing Director & Senior Vice President, Huawei Enterprise Business Group, Middle East

“We believe that if we get the oil fields digital,  the connectivity is ok in any country, you will be able to run your operation from abroad”

Zaid Elyaseri, Head of Country, BP Iraq

“Huge progress has been achieved over the past 10 years (…) We view Rumaila as a highly resilient operation (…) We increased production from the Mushrif reservoir by over 250% (…) Enormous potential for Rumaila to make further operation emission reduction”.


The Conference raised the importance of attracting capital and investment and how Iraq’s government must create the right market conditions and enable regulation


Salem Chalabi, Chairman & President, Trade Bank of Iraq highlighted the key drivers of the white paper in Iraq.


“We are grateful to the US and the UK for assisting to get to make us make changes, UK has been instrumental in getting the G7 to work with Iraq to work in a constructive way.”


Within the gas dimension and among a number of notable speakers was Dr Leila Benali, Chief Economist, Energy Economics, Strategy and Sustainability, the Arab Petroleum Investments Corporation (APICORP) highlighted  that

“Iraq needs more than gas strategy to build a competitive energy strategy, Iraq went a long way over the past 10 years.”

While Dr Michael Knights, Head, Iraq/KRG Programme, Washington Institute for Near East Policy who joined the event from Washington DC highlighted that

“DoE and DFC will continue to run programme aimed at boosting US investment in the Iraqi and Kurdistan region gas sectors.”

Details of Iraq’s infrastructure projects were discussed, among a number of distinguished speakers, notably we heard from Basra from Engineer Husam Hussein Weli, Director General, South Refineries  Ministry of Oil,   Federal Government of Iraq who highlighted a number of strategic projects for the South of Iraq including (FCC Project, New CDU4, Isomerization Unit and NHT & CCR).

Throughout the agenda, the attention on electricity was brought by an elite group of experts joined the event from Baghdad, Erbil and Abudhabi – HE Nafaa Abdulsada Ali Al-Hmidawi, Director General, Ministry of Electricity, Federal Government of Iraq who announced Iraq’s Ministry of Electricity priorities and the new generation capacity coming into the stream by 2021 Highlighted Iraq’s Government plans for generation and distribution and transmission 2021-2023.

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