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Singapore — Iraq's State Oil Marketing Organization, or SOMO, plans to boost its crude marketing activities by setting up offices outside Iraq, starting with Singapore, and increase the volume of cargoes sold on the spot market, Ali Nazar Faeq Al-Shatari, director of crude oil and gas marketing division, said Thursday.

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"Basically we don't have any office in any other country other than Iraq. But now we're looking forward to have an office here in Singapore. And we're collecting the necessary data to get the approvals," Al-Shatari said at the S&P Global Platts Asian Refining Summit.

He said the opening of its Singapore office will be a major step to penetrate the market in Asia and conduct more discussions and collaborations with its customers and market participants in the region. This potentially includes downstream investments in India and China.

Increasing spot sales will also help it maintain the liquidity of Iraq's crude oil exports after the expiry of its previous crude oil joint ventures, Al-Shatari said.

-- Eric Yep, eric.yep@spglobal.com

-- Edited by Ikhhlaq Singh Aujla, newsdesk@spglobal.com