Heritage Oil has replaced its CEO, Micael Gulbenkian, an heir of the Gulbenkian oil dynasty. His successor will be Tony Buckingham. It looks as if Mr Gulbenkian will remain on the board as a non-executive director.
The Gulbenkian appointment was partly designed to take advantage of his family’s historic role in Northern Iraq, but some suspect it was also designed to obscure Buckingham’s role in the company, given the latter’s links to mercenary outfits like Sandline and Executive Outcomes.
Heritage Oil has a production sharing agreement with the Kurdistan Regional Government in Northern Iraq, which is one of a series of deals that are a source of major contention with the Baghdad government.
The Kurdish premier, Nechirvan Barzani, said Kurds would fiercely oppose any attempt to deprive them of the right to develop their oil industry, and warned that interference could revive their calls for independence.
"The people of Kurdistan chose to be in a voluntary union with Iraq on the basis of the constitution," Barzani said in a statement.
"If Baghdad ministers refuse to abide by that constitution, the people of Kurdistan reserve the right to reconsider our choice." (Yahoo News)