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Iraq Signals It Is Improving Compliance With OPEC Cuts

As part of the OPEC deal, Iraq has cut its oil production by more than 300,000 bpd, and so far in March its average output stands at 4.464 million bpd, according to Iraq’s state oil marketing company SOMO.

Iraq’s compliance to OPEC’s cuts is 90 percent, SOMO director Falah al-Amiri said on Thursday, as reported by Reuters.

Earlier this month, Iraq’s Oil Minister Jabar al-Luaibi said the country’s compliance rate had reached 85 percent.

Under OPEC’s agreement, Iraq vowed to voluntarily cut its output from a 4.561-million-bpd reference production level in October 2016, to a production level of 4.351 million bpd between January and June, so the March production figure announced today is 113,000 bpd above that level.

Iraq, which has disputed OPEC’s secondary sources figures before it signed up to the deal, has been the one cartel member that has missed the targeted output by the most so far. In January and February, Iraq produced 4.476 million bpd and 4.414 million bpd, respectively, according to OPEC’s secondary sources.

Iraq self-reported output of 4.630 million bpd in January and 4.566 million bpd in February, but, as OPEC says in its press releases “Direct communication is not the basis of calculating conformity of OPEC MCs production with the reference production of October 2016”.

Iraq has been signaling that it is cutting output, but it has not managed to bring it down even close to the target it had agreed to.

Related: Saudi Aramco IPO Under Pressure, As 9/11 Lawsuits And Oil Prices Hit

Iraq, OPEC’s second biggest producer behind Saudi Arabia, is expected to have boosted compliance this month, as the overall cartel compliance rate is expected to hit a record 95 percent for March.

Still, Iraq has a lot of more work to do to meet its target, that is, if it is really playing along with the cuts. OPEC, for its part, is boasting the record compliance rate, but the cuts may not be enough to drain the global oversupply, and the cartel may have to extend the deal through the end of the year.

By Tsvetana Paraskova for Oilprice.com

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