Iraq to Boost Crude Output by Yearend

Iraq to Boost Crude Output by YearendIraq to Boost Crude Output by Yearend

Iraq’s Oil Minister Jabar Ali al-Luaibi said on Sunday that his country plans to increase daily crude oil production to 5 million barrels by the end of this year, up from the current rate of about 4.4 million barrels per day, to secure sorely needed cash for its ailing economy.

Iraq, where oil revenues make up nearly 95% of the budget, has been reeling under an economic crisis since 2014, when oil prices began their descent from a high of above $100 a barrel.

The onslaught of the so-called Islamic State militant group, starting in 2014, has exacerbated the situation — forcing Iraq to divert much of its resources to a long and costly war, AP reported.

Addressing an energy conference in Baghdad, al-Luaibi did not give details on which of the country’s oilfields would supply the increased output.

Late last year, Iraq joined a deal by OPEC and non-OPEC members to lower production for six months by 1.8 million barrels a day in order to prop up global oil prices. The mutual production decrease began on Jan. 1.

OPEC Secretary-General, Mohammed Barkindo, said the compliance among the participants was 86% in January and 94% in February.

He added that Iraq has promised OPEC to fully comply with the supply cut agreement. Iraq is OPEC's second-largest producer, after Saudi Arabia.

"Compliance with the deal agreed by OPEC and non-OPEC producers at the end of last year to cut supply is encouraging", Barkindo told the same energy conference in Baghdad.

"The focus is now to rebalance the market," he added.

OPEC ministers will meet in May to decide whether or not to extend the oil supply curbs beyond June.

Barkindo described as "very constructive" meetings he had on Saturday with Prime Minister Haider al-Abadi and other Iraqi leaders in Baghdad.

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