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Iraq Lifts Crude Loading Plans For October By 23,000 Bpd

Iraq’s State Oil Marketing Company, SOMO, expects its October exports from the main southern Gulf terminals will average 3.28 million barrels per day, up by 23,000 bpd from the September export plans, Platts reported on Monday, citing official SOMO tanker nomination figures.

The loading plans for this month and next are close to the average yearly export volumes of some 3.25 million bpd. This may point to the assumption that SOMO is trying to nominate volumes close to capacity so as to avoid high demurrage costs as it was the case in June and July, Platts observes.

Based on direct communication to OPEC, Iraq’s crude production stood at 4.638 million bpd in August, up by 32,000 bpd over July, OPEC said in its Monthly Oil Market Report on Monday. Based on secondary sources, Iraq pumped 4.354 million bpd last month.

At the end of last month, Iraq signaled it would support an OPEC output freeze deal at the meeting in Algiers later this month. “We support freezing oil production by OPEC due to the sharp decline of oil prices,” Iraq’s Prime Minister Haider al-Abadi said at a news conference on August 30.

This may have boosted optimistic expectations for a production cap deal at the September 26-28 meeting, but last week SOMO’s director general Falah Al-Amri said that Iraq would support a freeze “for a certain period”, without giving further details what a ‘certain period’ means and at what level Iraq was ready to freeze.

“Our government supported the freeze and we have to support the freeze. We have the capacity to produce more. But if the freeze is for a certain period and will stabilize the market, definitely the freeze is in our favor,” Al-Amri said in interview with Reuters last week.

The official, however, added that Iraq will see a “steady growth in production and exports next year”.

By Tsvetana Paraskova for Oilprice.com

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