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Kirkuk, one of Iraq’s richest oil provinces and under Kurdish control since 2014 has now said it’s ready to curb oil production if Iraq requires it to do so.
Bloomberg quoted Ahmed Al-Askari, the head of Kirkuk’s oil energy and industry committee as saying that his province is prepared to reduce output if the decrease is ‘’proportional’’ with the country’s other regions.
Earlier this week, Oilprice reported that Iraq might delay the output cut, as it plans to cut production, but not necessarily meet the deadline of January 1 which OPEC collectively agreed on.
Thus far, Iraq has shown various signs of going rogue as some of the International Oil Companies (IOC’s) have reported increased oil output. Oil major BP reported on Tuesday that it managed to ramp up oil production in the giant Rumaila field, reaching a 27 year high with over 1.45 million bpd produced.
The Wall Street Journal surprised markets last week by publishing a shipping document dated December 8th which revealed Iraq’s plans to increase Basrah grade oil exports by 7 percent in January 2017.
Although the director of Iraq’s oil marketing company SOMO declined to comment on Iraq’s intention to ramp up oil exports in January, Iraq’s oil minister Al-Luaibi was quick to say that he would instruct SOMO to adjust export levels in order to comply with the OPEC cuts.
Ahead of the OPEC deal to curb production, Iraq produced 4.8 million bpd in November and decided to offer a 4.5 percent production cut, amounting to some 210,000 bpd.
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Producing around 12 percent of Iraq’s total oil output. Kirkuk’s oil production in October 2016 amounted to 614,071 bpd of which 49,338 were produced by Iraq’s North Oil Company. In line with Iraq’s commitment to the OPEC deal, Kirkuk would be looking at an output cut of around 25,000 bpd.
25,000 bpd may not seem like a lot, but Kirkuk, protected by Kurdish Peshmerga troops, continues to fight against ISIS and its regional government still struggles to pay salaries to civil servants, pay off its swelling debts and compensate International Oil Companies.
By Tom Kool of Oilprice.com
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Tom majored in International Business at Amsterdam’s Higher School of Economics, he is now working as deputy news editor for Oilprice.com.