Iraqi crude output has been increased to a record level in the month of March. Noticeably, other producers are freezing production in order to curb global glut of oil price.
In a statement SOMO, state oil company of Iraq, stated that crude output in the group’s second-biggest producer rose to 4.55 million barrels a day last month from 4.46 million barrels in February, according to the state-run Oil Marketing Co. Exports increased to 3.81 million barrels a day in March from 3.23 million the previous month.
“They’re at a much higher level of production than just a year ago,” Richard Mallinson, an oil analyst with Energy Aspects Ltd. in London, said by phone Monday. Somo’s announcement of record output may be “Iraq trying to establish a high baseline going into any freeze”
The Organization of Petroleum Exporting Countries and other major producers such as Russia are set to meet in the Qatari capital Doha on April 17 to decide on a possible cap in crude output in an attempt to shore up prices.
Iraq supports an agreement reached in February between Saudi Arabia, Russia, Venezuela and Qatar to cap output at January levels, Iraqi Oil Ministry Spokesman Asim Jihad said on March 23, without confirming if the country agrees to freeze its own production.
He remarked that Iraq has boosted output of its Basrah-grade crudes from fields in the south, at the same time as the semi-autonomous Kurdish region in the north ramped up production, Mallinson said. Still, an outage at a pipeline in the Kurdish region during late February and early March probably hurt production.
Iraq is boosting output and exports after decades of economic sanctions and war. The country pumped a then-record 4.43 million barrels a day in January, the International Energy Agency said in a report published last month. Iraq holds the world’s fifth-biggest crude oil reserves.
Oil prices have dropped more than 60 percent in the past two years and are squeezing revenue for the government, which is waging a costly campaign against Islamic State militants who have seized northern sections of the country.
Iraq’s Oil Minister Adel Abdul Mahdi suspended his participation in the cabinet last month, citing disarray in government ministries. Nizar Saleem Numan, who was nominated to replace him, withdrew his candidacy earlier this month, citing a lack of agreement over the make-up of the proposed cabinet.