Iraq can ensure oil exports of more than 3.3 million bpd from southern terminals

Iraq can ensure crude oil exports of more than 3.3 million barrels per day from its southern terminals, as the country looks to leverage higher energy prices to support its economy, Iraq’s oil minister said on Friday.

The second-largest producer of oil in Opec, Iraq is making an effort to maximise its oil exports and revenue, and the government is supporting these initiatives, Ihsan Abdul-Jabbar told the Iraqi News Agency.

“The expected financial returns according to the scenarios presented by international energy agencies and researchers will be in excess of what was approved as the price of a barrel in the budget,” Mr Abdul-Jabbar told INA.

He expressed hope “in the ability to provide revenue in the appropriate amounts in order to meet the necessary need” in the country.

Oil revenue is crucial for Iraq as it struggles to rebuild its economy. The country’s March exports of crude oil reached more than 3.24 million barrels per day, with revenue amounting to $11.7 billion, the highest since 1972, the Ministry of Oil reported.

Oil revenue is expected to account for 88 per cent of total revenue this year, Fitch Solutions said.

Higher oil prices this year are expected to expand Iraq’s fiscal surplus to 6.7 per cent of its gross domestic product in 2022 from an estimated 2 per cent of GDP in 2021, it said.

Brent, the global benchmark for two thirds of the world’s oil, was trading 1.24 per cent higher at 101.83 per barrel at 9.43pm in the UAE, while West Texas Intermediate, the gauge that tracks US crude, was up 1.29 per cent at $97.27 a barrel.

Iraq oil exports reach $11.07bn in March amid higher demand. The Ministry of Oil also said on Friday that production commitments of Opec+ members led to the absorption of oil surplus in the markets.

Members of Opec+ held meetings “every month or according to the developments of the oil markets … [the alliance] has set a schedule calculated according to quotas … the production quantities contributed to absorbing the existing oil surplus”, the ministry’s spokesman Assem Jihad told INA.

Opec+ will add another 432,000 barrels per day of crude to the market in May, staying the course of incremental increases in global oil supply, it confirmed on March 31.

For several months, the alliance has worked to bring back 5.8 million bpd in production cuts to restore supply that was greatly reduced after the onset of the Covid-19 pandemic in 2020. The alliance achieved a historic reduction of 9.7 million bpd between May 2020 and July of last year.

The 23-member super group of producers, led by Saudi Arabia and Russia, has signalled that it is unwilling to let global geopolitics dictate its output policies and undermine efforts to stabilise a volatile crude market.

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