US appoints Iraq oil chief

06 May 2003
The US on 3 May appointed a former Iraqi Oil Ministry official, Thamir Ghadhban, to manage the country's oil industry, alongside an advisory board led by former head of the Royal Dutch/Shell Group in the US, Phillip Carroll. Ghadhban will be in charge of the management, marketing and sales of oil, essentially serving as oil minister until the creation of an interim Iraqi government. At the news conference to announce his appointment, Ghadhban said that he did not believe accusation that the US and the UK wanted to control Iraqi oil. 'We are committed 100 per cent that the Iraqi oil and hydrocarbons wealth is for the Iraqi people,' he told reporters. 'I am confident that I will do my best with my colleagues to improve the situation.' Ghadhban was formerly head of the oil ministry's directorate of studies and planning. Iraqi oil production continues to creep upwards. Taha Ibrahim, general manager of the Al-Zubayr refinery near Basra, said on 5 May that the facility could be producing 140,000 barrels a day (b/d) of refined products within three weeks, out of total capacity of 180,000 b/d. Current output stands at about 70,000 b/d. Ibrahim said some spare parts might be required. A swift rise in Al-Zubayr's production would help with the restoration of electricity to southern Iraq, where the power plants run on oil.

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