BAGHDAD, Iraq - The new civil administration in Iraq named two Iraqi oil officials and a former American oil executive yesterday to lead the country's oil industry, offering the first glimpse into how such a crucial economic sector might be run.
At a meeting at the Iraqi Oil Ministry attended by top managers of the country's various oil facilities, Thamir Ghadhban was introduced as the new chief executive of the interim management team for the oil sector, in effect becoming the oil minister.
Ghadhban is familiar to the other Iraqi oil managers, having served under the government of Saddam Hussein as head of the ministry's directorate of planning. In the aftermath of the war, he was among the first officials to return to work in an effort to get the country's oil flowing again.
The announcement was made by Maj. Gen. Tim Cross of the British army, a deputy to Jay Garner, the retired American lieutenant general who is the head of the civil administration here.
Cross also confirmed that the chairman of an advisory board with oversight of the ministry would be Philip J. Carroll, a former chief executive of the Shell Oil company, the American unit of Royal Dutch/Shell, and a former chief executive of the large construction concern Fluor Daniel.
Fadhil Othman, an Iraqi who, until 1995, led the agency that exported Iraqi oil and who now lives in Turkey, was named vice chairman of the committee.
At a brief news conference after the meeting with the oil officials, Cross and Ghadhban took pains to note that yesterday's announcement was proof of the Bush administration's promise to turn over the Iraqi oil industry to the Iraqis themselves.
As evidence, Cross and Gary Vogler, a former executive of ExxonMobil who is on Garner's team, said the advisory committee, which is led by an American, would not be able to veto decisions of the ministry's management, which will be entirely Iraqi.
Ghadhban and Othman are well respected within the Iraqi oil sector, oil experts say.
Ghadhban's immediate challenge will be to increase oil production for domestic use, which so far remains a trickle. A State Department spokesman at the ministry yesterday said that Ghadhban would soon name the leaders of about 15 units in the ministry, in such areas as production, refining and transportation. That could speed the revival of the oil flow.