Pressure is growing on the new Iraqi Oil Minister, Adil Abdul Mahdi. Abdul Mahdi is a senior

Ne Iraqi Oil Minister Adil Abdul Mahdi. Photo: en.wikipedia.org2

Ne Iraqi Oil Minister Adil Abdul Mahdi. Photo: en.wikipedia.org2

politician and economist caught in a very complex web of needs.

One on side he is under immense pressure by Western powers. A handful of oil refineries in the country’s north have fallen under the control of terrorist group Isis and are being used to fund their campaign of slaughter.

Isis also currently controls a large area of eastern Syria. This area is estimated to produce around 50,000 barrels of crude oil a day. This is less than a quarter of its full production figure. But either way, these refineries account for 60% of the country’s entire output.

The terrorist group also hold the Al Omar, Tanak and Shadadi oilfields; thus controlling supply as weel as production.

On another side the people of the northern ad mid-western Iraqi towns relying on oil production from refineries currently held by Isis. These areas produce around 25,000 barrels of oil. This is gravy to the rebels, a pittance of the country’s total output, but the lifeblood to the towns and people who live and work there. All of whom are voters.

Those who work and rely on the profits from these refineries don’t care who is paying them. For Abdul Mahdi to intercept the trucks transporting the oil and prevent them reaching their destination would be tantamount to bankrupting many of his own citizens.

On a third side Abdul Mahdi faces the complexity of dealing with the Kurdistan Regional Government which has been plagued with internal strife. Abdul Madhi needs to restore his country’s ailing petroleum industry and convince investors and buyers that future production is profitable and reliable, and he needs to somehow work towards Iraq’s existing goals of producing 9 million barrels per day by 2020.

All this is being expected from a man with no military background, in a war-torn, economically fragile country, with more than a few hostile neighbours, and a constituency who are fighting just to survive.

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