Iraq will comply with the OPEC-led deal on reducing output, as reported by Reuters, even though Baghdad is striving to increase its oil export capacity.
Jabar al-Luaibi, the Iraqi oil minister, told a Chatham House conference in London on Monday that Iraq’s export capacity was nearing 5 million bpd, including 4.6 million bpd from the south.
Iraq, the second largest producer in OPEC, has had to limit output in line with OPEC’s commitment to cut output by about 1.2 million bpd as part of a deal with Russia and others.
The OPEC cut has boosted oil prices, which last week topped US$71 a barrel for the first time since 2014.
“Iraq has made it clear at every time and every event that Iraq will comply with OPEC declarations in good spirit, genuine spirit,” the minister said. “We are determined that we will reach 5 million bpd export capacity by the end of this year.”
He added that Iraq hoped to more than double production from the northern Kirkuk oilfields with the help of BP.
While exports from the south are at record levels, output in northern Iraq is down after falling in mid-October when Iraqi forces retook control of oilfields from Kurdish fighters who had been there since 2014.
This has had the side-effect of boosting Iraqi compliance with the OPEC cuts in recent months. Last year, Iraq’s compliance lagged Saudi Arabia and other large OPEC producers.
The minister said the market was nearing “good stability” and Iraq was pumping 4.35 million to 4.36 million bpd of oil.
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