Some newly elected Iraqi lawmakers, linked with populist Shiite cleric Moqtada al-Sadr whose alliance won the elections last month, are not sure that Baghdad’s participation in the OPEC production cut deal is good for the country.
Some new members-elect of Iraq’s parliament think that Iraq should be able to export as much crude oil as it wants, newly elected lawmakers and politicians allied to al-Sadr’s political bloc have told S&P Global Platts in interviews.
The alliance of al-Sadr, who has very difficult relationships with the United States, scored a surprise victory in Iraq’s elections on May 12. The alliance won 54 seats in the 329-seat Parliament, so it will need to form a coalition to govern. Al-Sadr himself can’t be named prime minister because he didn’t run in the elections. Second in the vote came Iranian-backed militia leader Hadi al-Amiri, while the current Prime Minister Haider al-Abadi’s coalition was only third.
The surprise result of the Iraqi elections means that Iraq faces a long period of talks to form a coalition government that will coincide with the OPEC meeting later this month. At that meeting, the cartel and its Russia-led allies are expected to discuss boosting oil production in some form, to offset further losses of Venezuelan production and a potential loss of part of Iran’s oil exports after the U.S. sanctions return.
One of the new Iraqi lawmakers-elect, Qusay al-Yassiri of al-Sadr’s Saeroon coalition, told Platts:
“For sure Iraq’s share of exports should be unlimited so it can compensate for the low oil prices which have increased taxes on the people and workers.”
Other new MPs are aiming at Iraq’s oil contracts with international companies—and this adds further uncertainty to the current investment climate in Iraq’s oil industry.
“We intend to correct the uncorrected contracts or cancel them, and to only keep what is useful, whether they were license round contracts or those the oil minister has signed recently,” Rami al-Sukaini, who was elected on the Saeroon list representing the southern Basra province, told Platts.
By Tsvetana Paraskova for Oilprice.com
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