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Record Iraq oil exports from Basra expected in February despite OPEC cut

Iraq oil exports

Iraq oil exports are expected to reach 3.641 million b/d in February, beating the previous record of 3.51 million b/d set in December. AFP/Getty images photo by Essam Al-Sudani.

Iraq oil exports to be cut by 210,000 b/d in OPEC deal

By Florence Tan and Olga Yagova

SINGAPORE/MOSCOW, Jan 10 (Reuters) – Iraq oil exports from its southern port of Basra are expected to increase to an all-time high in February, keeping exports elevated even as OPEC production cuts take effect this month.

The country’s State Oil Marketing Company (SOMO) plans to export 3.641 million barrels per day (b/d) of crude in February, according to trade sources and preliminary loading schedules obtained by Thomson Reuters on Tuesday, potentially beating a record of 3.51 million bpd set in December.

The February volume includes 2.748 million b/d of Basra Light and 893,000 b/d of Basra Heavy, the documents showed.

For January, SOMO had planned to export 2.627 million b/d of Basra Light and 903,000 b/d of Basra Heavy.

Basra crude accounts for the bulk of oil exports from Iraq, the second-largest producer in the Organization of the Petroleum Exporting Countries (OPEC). SOMO could not be immediately reached for comment.

Iraq agreed to cut output by 210,000 b/d in the first half of 2017 as part of the OPEC deal despite Baghdad’s initial resistance to join the production cuts as it needed oil revenues to fund a war against Islamic State militants.

OPEC and some non-OPEC producers agreed late last year to tackle global oversupply and support prices by reducing output.

Iraq’s oil ministry said on Tuesday it has cut oil production by 160,000 b/d since the beginning of January in line with the OPEC decision.

(Reporting by Florence Tan in SINGAPORE and Olga Yagova in MOSCOW; Editing by Himani Sarkar and Christian Schmollinger)

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