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Iraq Denies Report It Sought OPEC Cut Exemption

Iraq is not seeking an exemption from the OPEC+ production cuts, the country’s oil ministry said in a statement following a Reuters report that suggested OPEC’s number-two was seeking relief from the deal for the first quarter of next year.

“The Ministry of Oil would like to categorically deny this baseless statement, and affirm that, to the contrary, Iraq remains fully committed to the April OPEC+ Declaration of Cooperation, and the compensation mechanism agreed in June,” the statement said, as quoted by Reuters.

The statement denies a report by Iraq’s state news agency, INA, which yesterday said that Oil Minister Ihsan Abdul Jabbar had discussed a possible exemption from the cuts with several of his counterparts from other OPEC members.

“The minister revealed efforts to exempt Iraq from the agreement to cut exports in OPEC and the subject has been broached with the organisation’s oil ministers in three consecutive meetings,” the INA report said.

Iraq was one of the laggards in the April agreement, failing to cut production to the quota assigned it by the OPEC+ group to shrink the global supply of oil amid crashing prices. This led OPEC leader Saudi Arabia to bring its foot down and demand that Iraq—and fellow laggard Nigeria—deepen their production cuts above their respective quotas to make up for their previous failures.

Iraq has assured its fellow OPEC members it would keep its word this time and cut 400,000 bpd in August and September to compensate for its previous undercompliance with the deal that required it to reduce its oil production by 850,000 bpd.

OPEC’s total production rose in August, according to preliminary data from Reuters, as the cartel continued to relax production cuts as per its agreement with Russia and the other non-OPEC partners in the April deal. The increase totaled 950,000 bpd from July, bringing the total to 24.27 million bpd.

By Charles Kennedy for Oilprice.com

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