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OPEC thanks Iraq for its role in balancing the market

OPEC secretary-general in Baghdad to express solidarity for a managed production decline agreement.

By
Daniel J. Graeber
OPEC's secretary general is in Iraq to discuss compliance with a multilateral effort aimed at balancing the market through managed production declines.File photo by Ali Jasim/UPI.
OPEC's secretary general is in Iraq to discuss compliance with a multilateral effort aimed at balancing the market through managed production declines.File photo by Ali Jasim/UPI. | License Photo

April 4 (UPI) -- Iraqi compliance with a multilateral effort to restore balance to the global market for oil has led to its success, OPEC's secretary-general said from Baghdad.

The Organization of Petroleum Exporting Countries is leading a multilateral effort to balance an over-supplied market with managed production declines. Iraq is the second-largest oil producer in OPEC, behind Saudi Arabia.

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OPEC Secretary-General Mohammad Barkindo met in Baghdad with Iraqi Oil Minister Jabbar al-Luaibi and Iraqi President Fuad Masum to discuss the level of coordination that led to the arrangement.

"By your guidance, great encouragement and the support of your offices, we were able to reach these decisions that were beyond expectations," the secretary-general said in a statement.

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Falah al-Armi, the Iraqi governor to OPEC and head of the State Oil Marketing Organization was quoted last week by the news service for pricing group S&P Global Platts that Iraq was "fully implementing" the terms of the deal.

Iraq, under the terms of the deal, committed to a production quota of around 4.3 million barrels per day. The country reported to OPEC that production in February was lower than the previous month by 64,000 bpd, but still above the quota at 4.5 million bpd.

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Iraq balked initially at the OPEC agreement, saying it needed revenue to finance national security operations during the fight against the Islamic State.

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The Iraqi oil minister this week visited oil export terminals at the southern port city of Basra. He said efforts to overhaul the ports were evolving so that Iraq could experience the overhauls would allow for an "unprecedented increase of oil production."

The OPEC arrangement, which includes non-member states like Russia as participants, helped establish a floor under the price for crude oil at around $50 per barrel. A previous OPEC policy of defending a market share with robust production, coupled with the rise in output from North America, pushed crude oil prices to below $30 per barrel in early 2016.

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