OPEC’s second-largest producer, Iraq, which is also the least compliant member of OPEC+, has made significant cuts in its crude oil exports so far in June, in a move suggesting that it is improving its compliance with the record production cuts.
Exports from Iraq fell by 300,000 barrels per day (bpd), or by 8 percent, in the first two weeks of June compared to May, Reuters reported on Tuesday, quoting industry sources and ship-tracking data.
Exports from the southern port of Basrah, Iraq’s main oil export terminal, have dropped by 170,000 bpd to average 2.93 million bpd so far this month, according to Reuters’ sources and tanker-tracking data. Exports from the north have also dropped, by around 130,000 bpd to some 350,000 bpd so far this month.
These declines in Iraq’s crude oil exports suggest that OPEC’s second-largest producer is working to reduce supply after the leaders of the OPEC+ pact – Saudi Arabia and Russia – had all laggards commit to full compliance with the cuts before agreeing to a one-month extension of the record production reductions.
Earlier this month, OPEC+ agreed to extend the record production cuts of 9.7 million bpd by one month through the end of July, contingent on all countries in the pact complying 100 percent with their quotas and compensating for lack of compliance by overachieving in the cuts in July, August, and September.
Last week, reports emerged that Iraq’s State Oil Marketing Organization (SOMO) has asked some of the Asian buyers of its Basrah crude grades if they could give up delivery of some already contracted cargoes for loading this month and next. Iraq’s government is also said to have approached international oil companies operating some of its largest oilfields to reduce production further and they had agreed.
Iraq confirms “its commitment to the voluntary oil production adjustments of June and July 2020, as well as the voluntary adjustments for the period following the end of July, despite the economic and financial challenges,” Iraq’s new Oil Minister, Ihsan Abdul Jabbar Ismaael told his Saudi counterpart, Prince Abdulaziz bin Salman, last week.