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Opec crude production surges as Iraq pumps at record pace

[NEW YORK] Iraqi crude production climbed to a record this month, helping send Opec output to the highest level since August 2012.

Output by the Organization of Petroleum Exporting Countries climbed 744,000 barrels to 32.134 million a day this month, according to a Bloomberg survey of oil companies, producers and analysts. Last month's total was revised 189,000 barrels lower to 31.39 million a day, because of changes to the Saudi, Iraqi, Algerian and Nigerian estimates.

Iraqi production rose 567,000 barrels a day to a record 4.388 million this month, according to the survey. Iraq, Opec's second-biggest producer, was responsible for more than half of the total gain this month.

Saudi Arabia, Opec's top producer, increased output by 150,000 barrels a day to 10.45 million in June, the most in monthly Bloomberg data going back to 1989. The kingdom exported more crude because of higher Asian demand.

Opec agreed on June 5 to retain its collective output target of 30 million barrels a day, a level that it's exceeded for 13 months, according to data compiled by Bloomberg.

BLOOMBERG