Iraq Urges OPEC to Cut Output by up to two Million Barrels a Day
Iraq's Oil Minister Amer Rashid on Saturday urged OPEC to cut production at its upcoming meeting by up to two million barrels per day (bpd) to stabilize oil prices on the world markets.
"We hope that OPEC will cut production at its upcoming meeting by at least between 1.5 and two million bpd to ensure a calm market," Rashid told reporters.
"We urge OPEC countries to maintain unity and rebuff any foreign interference that could affect prices and harm the economies of oil-producing countries, especially those in OPEC," he added.
Rashid said Baghdad was currently producing around three million-bpd, adding that output "will increase if the UN sanctions committee changes its position."
The committee in December rejected a new formula proposed by Iraq for the pricing of its crude amid controversy over Baghdad's efforts to impose a surcharge to be paid outside UN control.
The 11-member oil cartel is expected to announce an output cut when it meets on January 17 in Vienna, or possibly before under its informal price stabilization mechanism.
On Thursday, OPEC secretary general Ali Rodriguez said that general consensus had been reached between member states on the need for a production cut if oil prices remained below 22 dollars a barrel over the next 10 working days.
The Organization of Petroleum Exporting Countries (OPEC) said on Friday that its benchmark price had risen to 23.15 dollars, remaining within the 22-28 dollar target band for the third day in a row.
A top Iranian oil official also called Saturday for oil production to be reduced by at least 1.5 million bpd.
Baghdad, which is under sanctions and exempted from OPEC's quota system, is authorized to export crude under a UN oil-for-food program in return for imports of essential goods.
© 2001 Al Bawaba (www.albawaba.com)
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