As Middle Eastern countries make concerted moves to increase market share, Iraq says it will export an additional 5 million barrels of crude oil in June, setting the stage for Thursday’s OPEC meeting in Vienna.
Iraq is OPEC’s second-largest producer and is making its stance clear ahead of the meeting: output will not be frozen, and with prices heading slightly upward, it’s all about securing as much market share as possible.
Earlier this month, Iraq noted that it was aiming for a record 3.47 million barrels per day from its southern terminals.
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Iran, Kuwait and Saudi Arabia are all targeting increased output and bigger market share. They are also likely eyeing some of the market share Nigeria is losing to Niger Delta militancy that is leading to a force majeure ripple effect. At the same time, Saudi Arabia is desperate to make up for China market share it is losing to Russia.
Last week, Kuwait’s state-run oil company announced it was planning US$42 billion in investments by 2022, as the country pursues a three-fold strategy to increase oil production, expand its refineries and flesh out a clean fuels project.
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A senior Kuwait Petroleum Corp official also said the company planned to increase oil production by 44 percent to almost 4 million barrels a day in 2020. That was when Kuwaiti crude was trading at around $40 per barrel.
Iran, for its part, reached crude oil output of almost 3.6 million barrels per day in April—ramping up production far faster than experts had anticipated.
Oil prices were slightly down on Monday, closer to US$49 per barrel, though trading in the UK and the U.S. was subdued due to holidays.
By James Burgess of Oilprice.com
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