Iraq’s new Oil Minister Thamer Ghadban welcomed yesterday the injection of $800 million from the US-led coalition to achieve his main goal of hiking production.

“As a sovereign ministry, we will have a total of $800m to work with,” Ghadban said, after US overseer Paul Bremer released funding which had been frozen under the minister’s predecessor.

“Our priority is to raise oil production so that we can increase exports and have hard currency revenue for Iraq, because we are conscious this is our only wealth,” Ghadban said, reflecting on the challenges when Iraq recovers its sovereignty on June 30.