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Libya And Nigeria May Be Asked To Cut Production, Says Iraqi Oil Minister

Even Libya and Nigeria could be asked to cut production at the Organization of Petroleum Exporting Countries’ (OPEC) meeting in Vienna on the 25th, when the bloc is expected to review the terms of the November agreement to cut production by 1.2 million barrels per day, according to the Iraqi oil minister.

When the nations last discussed the deal, Libyan output remained seriously curtailed due to several years of post-Gaddafi infighting, earning the North African country an exemption from the quotas that bound the rest of the block’s members.

Similarly, militant groups in the Niger Delta attacked Nigeria oil facilities to the point that production fell to roughly half of its former levels at times.

But both countries have recovered significantly from the chronic domestic strife. Libya’s newfound stability has allowed output to recently touch 800,000 barrels per day – compared to just 365,000 bpd in October. Nigerian production is also recovering from the attacks as Lagos’ officials meet with residents of the Niger Delta to discuss infrastructure improvement and revenue sharing opportunities.

These developments pushed Iraqi oil minister Jabar al-Luaibi to suggest at a press conference in Baghdad that the two African nations could also be expected to cut output as part of the deal’s extension, expected to last until March 2018. With Nigeria and Libya onboard, the cuts could be raised to 1.8 million bpd, the minister added.

Related: Oil Prices Rise As Most OPEC Members Back Deal Extension

But Nigeria still expects that its exemption will continue for at least six months, according to oil minister Ibe Kachikwu.

“The indications that I have so far is that there is a willingness to extending [the exemption],” he told reporters in Houston. “I expect we will get OPEC exemption but one year from now will it be renewed? I am not too sure.”

Libya also has plans to raise output to 1.32 million bpd by the end of the year, up from an earlier target of 1.1 million bpd.

By Zainab Calcuttawala for Oilprice.com

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