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Iraq urges OPEC to consider longer-term strategy to stabilize oil prices

Vienna — Iraq's oil minister said Tuesday OPEC should consider both medium- and long-term strategies to achieve more stability on the global oil markets after his country's economy suffered greatly due to the recent, dramatic fall in oil prices.

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Iraq, OPEC's second largest oil producer behind Saudi Arabia, will look to be "positive and constructive" in efforts to help balance the oil market and support oil prices, oil minister Thamir Ghadhban said in a statement ahead of a key OPEC decision on output policy this week.

Ghadhban also stressed the need to develop new ideas and proposals to address the current challenges and "not to shorten the solutions" by only reducing oil production.

OPEC meets Thursday in Vienna to discuss output strategy, with Saudi Arabia, the UAE and other members pushing for a cut that they say will be needed to avoid a supply glut. S&P Global Platts Analytics forecasts a decision to cut 1.2 million-1.4 million b/d of production to help support oil prices which have lost more than a quarter of their value since early October.

Ghadhban said the fall in oil prices was a "real concern" for Iraq and other producers.

Iraq's oil revenues slumped to $6.18 billion in November, their lowest since February, after it obtained an average price of $61.10/b in November for its crude, $13.80 lower than the October price, ministry spokesman Assem Jihad said.

The last time OPEC and its non-OPEC allies decided to cut production, Iraq was reluctant to trim its output but its oil minister appears more supportive this time mainly due to the steep fall in its oil revenues.

"We will listen to the report of the technical committee on the conditions of the global market, and we will discuss this to the proposals that contribute to reaching an agreement between the producers to address the decline in oil prices," Ghadhban said.

-- Staff,

-- Edited by Jonathan Dart,