Iraqi Oil Minister Jabar al-Luabi.
ERBIL, Kurdistan Region — Oil Minister Jabar al-Luaibi will head state-owned Iraq National Oil Company (INOC), the country's oil ministry spokesperson told Reuters.
Iraq's Council of Ministers voted unanimously in favor of the decision last week, according to spokesperson Asim Jihad.
“The appointment decision was made for many reasons, including the experience Luaibi has,” Jihad said.
Luaibi will also remain as oil minister in Prime Minister Haider al-Abadi’s outgoing government, he added.
Jihad claimed the positions are not related. Adil Abdul-Mahdi, Iraq's prime minister designate and a former oil minister, has 30 days from October 2 to present a new cabinet to parliament.
INOC was initially formed in 1966, to deal with the oil industry — less refining. In 1987, it merged with the Ministry of Oil.
Now, four state-owned oil companies operate in Iraq: South, Missan, Midland, and North. Additionally, the State Organization for Marketing of Oil (SOMO) is responsible for marketing the country’s energy resources.
INOC will strictly deal with sales, allowing the oil ministry to more closely plan downstream operations.
Luaibi's future as head of INOC and minister of oil is uncertain.
“The issue of selection of a new minister is the responsibility of the prime minister-designate. Anything is possible, we will wait and see,” said Jihad.
As they wait, the United States will impose energy sanctions on neighboring and fellow OPEC member Iran on November 4.
It is speculated that Washington is considering a waiver for Iraq given its dependency on its largest trading partner in Tehran.
"We continue to have conversations with the Government of Iraq about that particular issue and the implications for the re-imposition of sanctions that were previously lifted or even waived under the JCPOA," US State Department spokesperson Heather Nauert said at a press conference on Friday.
The Kurdistan Region of Iraq has privatized its oil and gas sector. The idea of government-control has been discussed.