Iraq’s plan to increase oil output this year will go ahead, with exports running in January at a record level and unaffected by Iran’s return to the market, Iraqi Oil Minister Adel Abdul Mahdi told Reuters on Thursday.
Iraq, OPEC’s second-largest producer, expects output from the country’s southern region to increase by up to 400,000 barrels per day (bpd) this year to over 4 million bpd, he said during an interview in Baghdad.
Iraq also produces oil from the north but revenues from those sales go to the Kurdish self-ruled region, not the central government in Baghdad. The north produces more than 600,000 bpd.
Iraq will be offering competitive prices to market its additional crude output, the minister said, adding that it had made contracts with Chinese refineries covering all of 2016.
“In fact, we in Iraq are not short of contracts,” he said. “Until now, the demand on our oil is more than our offer, even with the return of Iran.”