Case | HBS Case Collection | September 2009 (Revised December 2009)

The Future of Iraq Project (A)

by Noel Maurer and Sogomon Tarontsi

Abstract

In March 2009, the government of Iraq decided to hold its first oil field auctions. The auctions were for service contracts on the country's southern oil fields; the winner would obtain the right to produce oil above a certain target for a fixed fee. The bidders competed on the fee charged per barrel and the amount by which they promised to increase production. At the same time, the Kurdish regional government continued to sign Production Sharing Agreements with foreign companies for its oil fields, unrecognized by the national government. In a context of continuing (if much reduced) political violence and legislative deadlock in the national parliament, three actors needed to make key decisions. Jean Claude Gandur, the CEO of Addax Petroleum, needed to decide whether to continue investing in the Kurdish region in light of Baghdad's continuing opposition. The Iraqi oil minister, Hussein al-Shahristani, needed to design the oil auctions in such a way that oil companies would be moved to invest, and invest quickly, despite the lack of a national oil law. Finally, the American secretary of state, Hillary Clinton, needed to decide what Iraqi oil policy would be in the best interest of the United States, and what levers (if any) the U.S. government could pull in order to insure that such a policy would be carried out. What would the three actors decide, and how would their decisions affect the future of Iraq and the world oil market?

Keywords: Non-Renewable Energy; Foreign Direct Investment; Policy; Auctions; Production; Business and Government Relations; Energy Industry; Iraq;

Citation:

Maurer, Noel, and Sogomon Tarontsi. "The Future of Iraq Project (A)." Harvard Business School Case 710-002, September 2009. (Revised December 2009.)