BASRA (Reuters) – Iraq’s oil minister Thamer al-Ghadhban has appointed a new head for the ministry’s licensing and contracts office, which oversees oil contracts and negotiates energy deals with international companies, according to a ministry document reviewed by Reuters. Ali Maarij was named the new head of the licensing and contracts office, according to the document signed by Ghadhban and dated Jan. 11. Maarij had previously served as head of Iraq’s state-run Missan Oil Company until 2014 when he became a member of the Iraqi parliament. In 2018 he was appointed as an adviser at the oil ministry. The position has long been occupied by Abul Mahdi al-Ameedi who reached retirement age late last year, an oil ministry document showed.