Future 50
A New Generation of Leaders Has Arrived

For not letting gender—or the pandemic—get in the way of the push for Iraqi energy independence

One of the youngest people at her company to be managing initiatives worth billions of U.S. dollars, Haneen AK Tuama would have been forgiven for just pushing her way through the pandemic. Instead, she used it as an opportunity to upskill, earning the Project Management Professional (PMP)® and PMI Risk Management Professional (PMI-RMP)® certifications and starting another.

The stakes, she says, are simply too high to waste a year stagnating. So she forged ahead and put those skills to work at Basrah Gas Co., where she’s helping optimize the natural gas fields of southern Iraq. It’s an undertaking essential to the current and future Iraqi economy, Tuama says. Energy independence in Iraq is both a matter of national security and a concrete way to improve the day-to-day lives of people in the country, where temperatures can soar to 50 degrees Celsius (122 degrees Fahrenheit) and energy blackouts can be potentially fatal. 

One big game-changer: a US$3 billion expansion that could boost natural gas production capacity by 40 percent for Basrah Gas Co., the joint venture of Shell, Mitsubishi Corp. and the Iraqi government’s South Gas Co. 

All this fuels Tuama’s motto: “Work hard in silence, and let success make the noise.”

Q&A: Haneen AK Tuama on strategic thinking, putting people first and breaking barriers

What’s the most influential project you’ve worked on? 

Every project I’ve worked on has influenced me in one way or another and has grown my sense of responsibility toward the organization and ultimately toward my country. The most influential project, though, was expanding the Iraqi role in the international energy market through a roughly US$1 billion project to export refrigerated liquefied gas carriers through the Umm Qasr port in Basrah City. The project’s challenging environment increased my knowledge, confidence and ability to think strategically.

What do you need to succeed in The Project Economy? 

Interpersonal skills, because our ultimate focus should be on people first, and the numbers will follow.

What professional accomplishment are you most proud of? 

Being one of the first females working in such a sensitive position in my field really makes me proud. I’m leading business maturation efforts with a wide team that consists of diverse cultures, expertise and genders.

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