Iraq’s agreement on OPEC supply deal hinges on keeping output at near current levels
By Maher Chmaytelli and Saif Hameed
BAGHDAD, Oct 25 (Reuters) – Iraq told a top OPEC official on Tuesday it was ready to cooperate in reaching a deal on supply cuts to support oil prices as long as it kept its output at near current levels.
“We are prepared to cooperate on the correct basis,” Prime Minister Haider al-Abadi said, commenting on the visit by OPEC Secretary General Mohammed Barkindo to Baghdad.
Barkindo, who is trying to cement an accord on supply cuts that would support sagging oil prices, was in Baghdad ahead of OPEC’s meeting on Nov. 30.
OPEC’s second largest producer after Saudi Arabia, Iraq says it will not cut output as it needs oil money to fight Islamic State. Iraqi officials say the war-torn nations should get the same exemptions as Iran, Nigeria and Libya — which have had their crude output hit by wars and sanctions.
They have also hinted that they may agree to a cut, but from a higher baseline, which would amount to preserving output at the same level. Iraq says it produces more than OPEC’s estimate.
“We want oil prices to increase,” said Abadi. “There was a misunderstanding about the figures.”
Iraq puts its September output at 4.774 million b/d and its production could rise a little in October. OPEC’s secondary sources put it at 4.455 million b/d.
Barkindo met Oil Minister Jabar al-Luaibi who expressed “support for the efforts of the secretary general”, according to statement on the oil ministry’s website.
Falah al-Amri, head of state oil marketer SOMO, said Iraq will not go back below 4.7 million barrels per day, “not for OPEC, not for anybody else”.
(Editing by David Goodman and David Evans)