Iraq needs oil to fill ‘bud­get hole’

The Myanmar Times - - International Business -

IRAQ has to up its crude out­put be­cause dwin­dling oil prices and the fight against Is­lamic State have left “a huge hole” in the econ­omy, For­eign Min­is­ter Ibrahim al-Jaa­fari said as the OPEC car­tel scram­bles to agree a pro­duc­tion cut deal.

“As oil makes up for more than 90 per­cent of Iraq’s bud­get, a huge hole was knocked in the bud­get by the fall in prices right at the same time as we have had to in­crease spend­ing on the army due to the fight against IS,” Mr Jaa­fari told re­porters dur­ing an of­fi­cial visit in Bu­dapest.

Iraq, OPEC’s sec­ond-largest oil pro­ducer, has been pump­ing more oil over the past few months to reach an av­er­age of 4.56 mil­lion bar­rels per day (mb/d) in Oc­to­ber.

The re­marks came as of­fi­cials from the Or­gan­i­sa­tion of the Petroleum Ex­port­ing Coun­tries tried to ham­mer out de­tails of an agree­ment set to be fi­nalised on Novem­ber 30 in Vi­enna.

OPEC, led by the world’s top oil pro­ducer Saudi Ara­bia, agreed a sur­prise deal in Septem­ber to trim pro­duc­tion and boost prices de­pressed since 2014.

The ac­cord is sup­posed to lead to a wider pact with non-car­tel pro­duc­ers in­clud­ing Rus­sia – the world’s largest pro­ducer along­side the Saudis – in a bid to sta­bilise oil prices in 2017. –

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