Iraq Wants Higher Oil, Gas Output in 2017

No decision is expected to be taken in Istanbul.No decision is expected to be taken in Istanbul.

Iraq's oil minister has urged oil and natural gas producers operating in the country to continue increasing output next year, the oil ministry said in a statement on Sunday.

Jabar al-Luaibi's comments came as OPEC nations are trying to implement an agreement to curb oil output for the first time since the 2008 financial crisis, in order to push up crude prices, Reuters reported.

The ministry's statement quoted remarks Luaibi made to a meeting of Iraq oil industry executives in the southern oil city of Basra to review the ministry's oilfields' development plans.

It made no mention of the decision by the Organization of Petroleum Exporting Countries on Sept. 28 to reduce output to a range of between 32.50 million barrels per day and 33.0 million bpd.

OPEC's production stood at around 33.6 million bpd in September, according to a Reuters survey that put Iraq's output at 4.43 million bpd.

The minister "has affirmed the need to proceed forth with increasing oil and gas production through enhancing the national effort and those of the licensed companies for the remainder of 2016 and also for 2017," the statement said.

Foreign companies' oil output targets "should be reached within the assigned periods," the ministry quoted Luaibi as saying.

The ministry also aims to increase associated gas output by adding 350 to 450 million cubic feet a day to the nation's production in 2017, Luaibi said.

Natural gas output levels in Iraq's southern region are tied to crude production levels as the two are produced from the same reservoirs.

  Istanbul Meeting

The Iraqi oil minister's comments are counterproductive to efforts of OPEC and outside producers aimed to curb crude oil production and a persistent glut to restore stability to the global market.

Iraq is OPEC's second-largest producer behind Saudi Arabia and ahead of a resurgent Iran which has ramped up its crude supplies faster than expected after international sanctions against it were removed in January.

Energy ministers from Iran, Saudi Arabia and Iraq will be among representatives of key OPEC producers meeting Russian officials for informal talks on oil output in Istanbul this week, OPEC sources and the Russian energy minister said.

Russian Energy Minister Alexander Novak said on Thursday that he planned to meet OPEC Secretary-General Mohammed Barkindo in Istanbul. Novak also said he planned to discuss OPEC's output deal with ministers of other oil-producing countries.

Other energy ministers who will be present in the Turkish city as it hosts the World Energy Congress include those of the UAE, Algeria, Venezuela and Qatar, which holds the OPEC presidency.

No decision is expected to be taken in Istanbul, the sources said, but the meeting will be a chance for the officials to discuss the next step after last week's Algiers meeting.

On Sept. 28, OPEC agreed a tentative deal to limit crude production and is looking to secure the cooperation of non-OPEC members such as Russia to help support oil prices.

The agreement reached in Algiers is expected to be implemented this year and OPEC ministers will meet next in Vienna on Nov. 30 to set the group's supply policy.


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