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Iraq seeks Opec deal that would preserve oil output
[BAGHDAD] Iraq told a top Opec official on Tuesday of its hope that the group could reach a deal to lift oil prices while preserving its own output level, a spokesman of the oil ministry said.
Iraqi Oil Minister Jabar al-Luaibi and Opec Secretary General Mohammed Barkindo, who is is trying to bring about an agreement on supply cuts that would support sagging prices, met in Baghdad ahead of the cartel's meeting on Nov 30.
"The minister expressed support for the efforts of the secretary general ... and optimism that the meeting would lead to decisions in favor of crude producers," oil ministry spokesman Asim Jihad told Reuters.
Mr Luaibi, he said, also briefed Barkindo about Iraq's "real production" figures, which are higher than those estimated by so-called secondary sources adopted by Opec.
"These figures are the right of Iraq," he added, suggesting that the war-torn nation is seeking to preserve its oil production levels.
Should Iraq be forced to join Opec's supply reduction, its insistance on a higher production figure as a baseline for the cut would also make the deal more favourable for Baghdad.
Iraq, Opec's second-largest producer, sent a strong signal on Sunday that it would resist Opec attempts to cut output.
Mr Luaibi then told reporters in Baghdad that Iraq would seek the same exemptions as Iran, Nigeria and Libya - which have had crude output hit by wars and sanctions - emphasising that Baghdad needs its oil income to fight the war on Islamic State.
Falah al-Amri, head of state oil marketer SOMO, said that Iraq will not go back below 4.7 million barrels per day, "not for Opec, not for anybody else".
Iraq estimates its September output at 4.774 million bpd and its production could rise a little in October, Mr Amri added.
Opec's secondary sources put Iraqi production at 4.455 million bpd.