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Iraq Expands Port Infrastructure To Raise Fuel Trade   

Iraq plans to complete this year the construction of a new oil pier in its key fuel export and import facility in order to raise trade in refined oil products and boost government revenues, Iraqi officials told The Associated Press on Friday.

Iraq, OPEC’s second-largest crude oil producer after Saudi Arabia, is one of the most oil-dependent economies, even by OPEC standards, and has seen its budget revenues plummet after last year prices crashed.   

The country also looks to crack down on corruption and smuggling at the borders with the plan to build the new oil pier and modernize part of its main fuel export and import port, Khor al-Zubair.

The construction works at the port are over 70 percent completed, Farhan Fartousi, director-general of the state firm General Company for Ports in Iraq, told the AP.

The works are funded by the Japan International Cooperation Agency and include the installation of modern equipment at the new oil pier to allow the entry of more ships, the official said.

Meanwhile, Iraq boosted slightly its crude oil exports in April compared to March, according to data from the oil ministry compiled and analyzed by Iraq Oil Report. All Iraqi exports, including from Kurdistan via the pipeline to Turkey, averaged 3.389 million barrels per day (bpd) in April, up from 3.367 million bpd in March, according to data from the ministry and from industry officials. Despite the slightly higher crude oil exports, Iraq’s revenues from those exports dropped by around 5 percent month over month in April, due to weaker average global oil prices last month, Iraq Oil Report’s analysis showed.  

Going forward, Iraq is set to increase its crude oil exports—as all members of the OPEC+ group are—between May and July, in line with the alliance’s plans to gradually ease the combined production cuts by a total of 2.1 million bpd by the end of July.

OPEC+ is expected to confirm next week its May-July schedule to ease the oil production cuts by the planned 840,000 bpd in July, OPEC+ delegates and two dozen analysts told Bloomberg News on Thursday. 

By Charles Kennedy for Oilprice.com

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