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Iraq's April crude oil output nearly steady on month despite expiry of old OPEC+ pact

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Iraq's April crude oil output nearly steady on month despite expiry of old OPEC+ pact

Highlights

Iraq struggling to boost output amid coronavirus outbreak

Iraq takes biggest output hit among OPEC members in April: Platts

Country is OPEC's second largest oil producer

Dubai — Iraq's total crude output, including flows from the semiautonomous Kurdish region, remained nearly steady in April as OPEC's second largest oil producer did not boost production despite expiry of the old OPEC+ oil production cuts in March.

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Iraq's state oil marketer SOMO said on Sunday that oil production in April was at 4.48 million b/d, compared with 4.5 million b/d in March, even as some of its OPEC allies boosted output to record levels that month.

SOMO said in a letter to S&P Global Platts that April exports fell to 3.853 million b/d from 3.869 million b/d in March. The figure includes the Kurdish region in northern Iraq.

Iraq took the biggest hit to production for OPEC members in April, losing 110,000 b/d as low fuel demand and a lack of product storage space forced its refineries to severely lower crude runs, according to the latest Platts OPEC survey. Production was at 4.54 million b/d in April.

New government

Iraq is struggling to boost output due to the oil price crash amid the coronavirus pandemic.

The country had to shut-in its 90,000 b/d al-Gharraf oil field since mid-March due the pandemic after operator Petronas of Malaysia evacuated staff.

Iraq's parliament granted last week its vote of confidence to most members of the new cabinet of Prime Minister Mustafa al-Kadhimi, but postponed the oil minister vote. The country has been run by a caretaker government since December 2019 following the resignation of the government of Prime Minister Adel Abdul Mahdi over protests that have in the past disrupted oil production.

Kadhimi said in his government program he wants to form a negotiating delegation to discuss amending terms of the technical service contracts with international oil companies, which operate the country's biggest fields in the south.