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Iraq says OPEC+ cuts unchanged in March, but easing after

Ahmed Rasheed
·1 min read
FILE PHOTO: A 3D printed oil pump jack in front of the OPEC logo in this illustration picture

By Ahmed Rasheed

BAGHDAD (Reuters) - Iraq said on Wednesday OPEC+ would keep its output cuts policy unchanged at a March meeting, but that Saudi Arabia would likely abandon voluntary production cuts of 1 million barrels per day (bpd) after that as oil prices rally.

Iraqi Oil Minister Ihsan Abdul Jabbar said he anticipated an oil price of $58 to $63 in 2021. The minister spoke at a news briefing in Baghdad.

Abdul Jabbar said he hoped Saudi Aramco might get a share in a deal to develop Iraq's Akkas gas field.

He said a consortium led by oilfield services provider Schlumberger was now the front-runner to win that project and that Iraq intended to cancel an agreement over Akkas with South Korea's KOGAS in the coming months.

Iraq, OPEC's second-largest producer, relies on oil exports for nearly all its state revenue. It was hit hard by low oil prices last year and struggled to pay public sector workers.

Oil exports and prices have begun to creep up and Abdul Jabbar said he expects Iraqi exports to average 2.9 million barrels per day (bpd). He said Iraqi production would average 3.6 million bpd in February if the autonomous Kurdistan region abides by OPEC+ output cuts.

He added that Iran might return to the oil market if everything remained "normal", without elaborating.

(Writing by John Davison; editing by Edmund Blair and Jason Neely)