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Baghdad Oil Exports Threaten OPEC Production Cut Deal | ASHARQ AL-AWSAT English Archive 2005 -2017
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Illustration on Iraqi oil production, Bloomberg

Khobar- A majority of member states at the Organization of the Petroleum Exporting Countries (OPEC) have projected sincere intentions to lower oil production rates, promoting a cut deal to relieve the current market glut. The agreement aims at an overall 1.2 million bpd drop in production as of January, and lasting for six months.

Despite all official statements issued by the Iraqi oil ministry, export data retrieved from the southern Iraqi ports and carriers prove that the OPEC member still seeks to pump additional product into markets. Iraq plans to increase crude exports at the southern port of Basra to maximum level in February.

The country’s State Oil Marketing Company (SOMO) plans to export 3.641 million barrels per day (bpd) 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 bpd of Basra Light and 893,000 bpd of Basra Heavy, the documents showed.

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

Basra crude accounts for the bulk of oil exports from Iraq, the second-largest producer in OPEC.

Iraq agreed to cut output by 210,000 bpd in the first half of 2017 as part of the OPEC deal despite Baghdad’s initial resistance to join the production cuts.

OPEC and some non-OPEC producers agreed late last year to tackle global oversupply and support prices by reducing output. More so, Iraq’s oil ministry said on Tuesday it has cut oil production by 160,000 bpd since the beginning of January in line with the OPEC decision.

United States bank Goldman Sachs said that Iraq did not prove any genuine intentions to cut production. Energy Aspects doesn’t expect Iraq to comply with its output quota, the London-based consultant said last week in a note.