Iraq called on Monday, November 12 for OPEC to cut output by at least 1.5 million barrels a day (bpd), as ministers began gathering here for a meeting to agree production cuts.
Asked how big a reduction OPEC should make, Iraqi Oil Minister Amer Rasheed said "at least 1.5 million barrels a day." Asked about a looming deadline for the UN oil-for-food program, under which Iraq exports crude in return for food and medicine, Rasheed said: "We will continue exporting unless we are forced not to."
Previous deadlines have resulted in fitful Iraqi export supplies, as Baghdad tries to use oil as a political tool to end the sanctions regime imposed after it invaded Kuwait 11 years ago. But Rasheed told reporters: "We have never terminated exports unless we are forced to. This is our policy."
Energy chiefs from the Organization of Petroleum Exporting Countries (OPEC) are converging on Vienna for a meeting Wednesday at which they are expected to announce a fourth output cut this year, of 1-1.5 million barrels a day.
OPEC hopes the cut will rescue prices, which have fallen around 25 percent, to two-year lows, since the September 11 terror attacks in the United States. — (AFP, Vienna)
© Agence France Presse 2001
© 2001 Mena Report (www.menareport.com )