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Iraq plans to add crude production capacity but will respect its OPEC quota: minister

Vienna — Iraq can currently produce up to 5 million b/d of crude, with plans to add more capacity in the coming years, but will try to hold to its quota of 4.51 million b/d under the OPEC+ supply accord despite months of non-compliance, oil minister Thamir al-Ghadhban said Wednesday.

"Actual production is going to be in line with our [quota]," Ghadhban told reporters in Vienna, where he will participate in OPEC+ talks Thursday and Friday. "We are going to do our best to respect our commitment within the OPEC and OPEC+ agreement and the charter of cooperation."

Iraq has consistently flouted its production quota under the deal, coming close only in March when bad weather affected loadings at its Persian Gulf port. It pumped 4.69 million b/d in October, according to an average of the six secondary sources used by OPEC to track member output, including S&P Global Platts.

Asked when Iraq plans to bring its production down in line with its cap, Ghadhban said: "Very soon, I hope." Iraq has been pressured by Saudi Arabia, OPEC's largest producer and de facto leader, to improve its quota compliance.

OPEC, Russia and nine other non-OPEC allies are meeting in Vienna to discuss their 1.2 million b/d production cut agreement, which runs through March. Despite Iraq's non-compliance, Ghadhban has proposed that the group's cuts be deepened to 1.6 million b/d to prevent a slide in prices in 2020.

Many other delegates have suggested that an extension at the same levels would be more prudent, though there appeared to be no consensus yet on how long to maintain the cuts.

Ghadhban said it was still premature to say what course of action the coalition would take.

"It is too early to decide whether it is going to be March or June or the end of 2020," he said. "All the three scenarios or options will be discussed and depends on the final agreement and the final consensus."

-- Staff,

--Edited by Alisdair Bowles,