Provincial Council of Basra formulates strategic plan to contribute to effective management of the oil and gas sector

Oil refinery
Oil refinery in Basra. Photo: UNAMI PIO/2017

Basra, 01 November 2017- The southern Governorate of Iraq, Basra, now has a three-year strategic plan for oil and gas. As a key pillar of Basra’s economy, this industry is supposed to employ thousands of workers and generate billions of dollars of revenue each year. Unfortunately, the industry is falling short of its expected developmental goals. It has been assessed that the industry’s performance can be boosted through sound management and improved capacity and expertise. The Provincial Council of Basra is seeking to address this issue, in part, with its Committee for Oil and Gas.

Highlights

  • Starting November 2016, UNDP worked closely with the Committee for Oil and Gas to develop the strategic plan
  • Amongst objectives of the plan is to generate employment, whilst considering related social and environmental impacts
  • The industry’s performance can be boosted through sound management and improved capacity and expertise

To this end, the Committee has formulated a strategic plan with the support of the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP). This support was channeled under the Basra Compact agreement signed between UNDP and the Governorate of Basra in 2015 to provide the Governorate with technical assistance in major thematic areas, including strategic planning.

Starting November 2016, UNDP worked closely with the Committee for Oil and Gas to develop the strategic plan. In July 2017, the Provincial Council of Basra endorsed the first draft, and approved the final version for printing in September 2017. Hundreds of copies were distributed to relevant stakeholders in October 2017.

Chairman of the Committee for Oil and Gas, Mr. Ali Shaddad Al Fares, said: “We believe in the importance of strategic planning to achieve comprehensive, sustainable development in all aspects of life. Given that oil and gas are the most important sources of Iraq’s national wealth at the present time, the Committee for Oil and Gas had to follow a scientific methodology in planning for the future of Basra.”

Mr. Shaddad added: “We thank UNDP for providing technical and logistic support during the whole process. We followed the mandate of the Committee in the plan to ensure control over the operations of oil companies and play an effective legislative role.”

Formulating the strategic plan followed a participatory approach, engaging respective stakeholders in rounds of consultation meetings and a concluding three-day workshop in Basra. Participants were members of the Provincial Council and Committee for Oil and Gas, Director of the Governorate’s Energy Department, together with representatives of the Basra Oil and Gas University, technical colleges and institutes, and experts. They identified and tackled challenges that ranged from political dynamics, to economic and environmental aspects, to social complexities such as tribal conflicts, minorities and ethnic differences, as well as technology constraints.

The key objectives of the strategic plan are to set up the Governorate’s vision for supporting the development of the oil and gas sector in Basra, generating employment especially for youth, whilst considering related social and environmental impacts. The plan further promises a framework of cooperation with stakeholders that can only develop such a big and complicated sector.

UNDP Head of Basra Office, Mr. Thair Shraideh, said: “This new strategic plan will serve as an essential guiding tool that the Provincial Council of Basra can rely on for years to come. UNDP will continue to provide technical support contributing to the effective management of an important sector that can be utilized for human development.”

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