Iraq cutting more oil production than necessary

Iraq's oil minister said any decision to extend an OPEC-led move to trim supplies will depend on market conditions.
By Daniel J. Graeber  |  Sept. 1, 2017 at 7:30 AM
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Sept. 1 (UPI) -- Iraq is doing more than it needs to in terms of working to balance an oversupplied market through an OPEC-led effort, its oil minister said Friday from Moscow.

Russian Energy Minister Alexander Novak hosted Iraqi Oil Minister Jabbar al-Luaibi at the Kremlin to discuss what Novak's ministry said Thursday were "urgent issues" of cooperation between members of the Organization of Petroleum Exporting Countries and non-member states.

Russia is contributing most to a multilateral effort to sideline about 1.8 million barrels of oil per day among non-OPEC members. The OPEC effort is aimed at bringing the level of global crude oil inventories closer to the five-year average. Total supplies for members of the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development are still above the five-year average, but sharply lower than the start of the year.

An August assessment from the U.S. Energy Information Administration forecast second quarter 2018 OECD commercial inventories will be about 1.3 percent higher than second quarter 2017.

Iraq's oil minister said his country has done more than it needs to according to the OPEC framework. Russian state media cited a production level for Iraq of 4.32 million bpd. Iraq is committed to a ceiling of 4.35 million bpd under the terms of the OPEC agreement.

Iraq balked initially at the decision to trim production. Since the agreement went into force in January, the central government in Baghdad accused the Kurdish government of not contributing. Last week, DNO, a Norwegian oil and gas company with a strong presence in the Kurdish region of Iraq, said gross production from its Tawke license area in the region averaged 108,434 bpd, of which 99.3 percent was sent through pipelines north for exports from Turkey. With more than a dozen consecutive monthly export payments, DNO said it was now ready to ramp up drilling with three rigs currently active across the portfolio.

In statements Friday, sent to UPI from pricing group S&P Global Platts, Iraqi's oil minister said he would be on board with extending the agreement into June if necessary.

"But any such extension will be decided at OPEC's Nov. 30 meeting and will be dependent on market fundamentals," he said.

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