Minister: Iraq to boost crude oil production by year's end

Minister: Iraq to boost crude oil production by year's end

Minister: Iraq to boost crude oil production by year's end

Crude oil prices staged a three-day rally last week amid expectations members of the Organisation of the Petroleum Exporting Countries (OPEC) and non-members such as Russian Federation would extend production cuts beyond June.

Iraqi Oil Minister Jabbar al-Luaibi in January said the country was "dealing wisely" with its commitments to OPEC.

When the oil cartel OPEC and 11 other non-member petrostates agreed last November to cut their collective output by 1.2 million bpd, traders anticipated a price rebound.

Libya's crude output increased on Monday after state-owned National Oil Corporation (NOC) lifted a force majeure on loadings of Sharara oil from the Zawiya terminal in the west of the country, sources familiar with the matter told Reuters. Oil prices have fallen about 10 percent this year as crude stockpiles in the US have since December grown by nearly 55 million barrels to 534 million barrels, the highest since 1929. The current deal, he said, "contains many positive elements and achieved a lot of targets; work is ongoing to reach the reduction of 1.8" million barrels per day (bpd) agreed by OPEC and 11 other nations including Russian Federation for their combined production in the first half of 2017.

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"Record imports are being driven by falling production, higher refinery runs, huge infrastructure and Strategic Petroleum Reserve builds", said Virendra Chauhan of consultancy Energy Aspects.

He did not mention, however, that Iraq has also vowed to boost oil production capacity to 5 million bpd before the end of this year and increase its reserves by 15 billion barrels in 2018, to reach 178 billion barrels. The conflict showed signs of calming in recent months, with oil output rising from as little as 260,000 barrels a day in August, according to data compiled by Bloomberg. "Today's pause may be significant in terms of market direction - we'll see what happens in Europe and the USA later today", said Ric Spooner, chief market analyst at Sydney's CMC Markets. Prior to last week's shutdown, output there was 220,000 barrels a day.

Benchmark Brent crude oil plummeted by 20 cents to $52.92 a barrel, while USA light crude oil also fell by 20 cents to reach $50.04, reported Reuters. The U.N. estimates that more than 3 million people have been forced from their homes since 2014.

Natural gas production was at 58.79 billion cubic metres (bcm) last month, or 1.9 bcm a day, versus 58.52 bcm in February. The reason for such action goes back to the rise in oil reserves of the United States on the basis of recent reports.

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