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Iraq exported an average daily 3.252 million barrels of crude last month, a slight decline on the March average of 3.259 million bpd, generating US$4.6 billion in revenues, the country’s oil ministry reported. The average price per barrel for Iraqi crude was US$47.275.
April saw Iraq for the first time sell a supertanker full of crude, loaded at its Basra terminal, on the spot market in Dubai. The cargo—2 million barrels—was auctioned at the Dubai Mercantile Exchange, at a premium of US$0.31 to the official selling price for Iraqi crude for June.
Also last month, Baghdad struck a deal with Cairo to sell 12 million barrels of crude to Egypt. The first cargo, two million barrels, is expected to ship this month.
The new approach is part of Iraq’s efforts to boost its oil revenues by gaining a competitive edge amid intense competition following the oil price rout and the OPEC production cut. These efforts seem to be bearing fruit—earlier this month the head of research at the Abu Dhabi Investment Authority, Christof Ruehl, said that Iraq is gaining market share at the expense of Saudi Arabia.
Iraq, OPEC’s second-biggest producer, agreed to shave off 210,000 bpd from its crude oil output to help improve prices. The cut, however, has not had the expected effect as U.S. producers are ramping up production quickly, last week erasing all price gains since the cut deal was announced.
Related: Could Oil Drop To $42?
Brent and WTI are back below US$50 a barrel, with WTI dangerously close to US$45—after dipping briefly below it on Friday—and the sense of urgency for OPEC is growing. Amid these price developments, Saudi Arabia’s top oil man Khalid al-Falih said that the production cut could be extended not just into the second half of 2017 but into 2018 as well.
By Irina Slav for Oilprice.com
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Irina is a writer for Oilprice.com with over a decade of experience writing on the oil and gas industry.