Iraq's Oil Exports Dip, Revenues Rise

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Iraq's southern Basrah oil exports fell by 50,000 b/d in May to 2.8 million b/d, while exports of northern Kirkuk oil held steady at around 100,000 b/d, according to official oil ministry figures. But with oil prices averaging $65.50/bbl, Opec's second-largest producer still notched up its highest oil revenues since January 2020, earning around $5.9 billion in May. The reported fall in Iraq's exports comes despite its Opec-plus production quota rising in May -- by 48,000 b/d to 3.095 million b/d -- in line with a gradual increase in the alliance's output between May and July (IOD Jun.1'21). But Iraq remains under pressure, notably from Saudi Arabia, to implement so-called "catch-up" cuts, to compensate for past overproduction. It submitted a plan a month ago for additional cuts of 130,000 b/d in May and June. It looks unlikely that Baghdad achieved that target last month, having officially overshot its production quota in April by 63,000 b/d. Nevertheless, the Iraqi government remains supportive of Opec-plus' cautious approach to increasing supply, mindful of the very heavy toll that last year's price collapse took on the country's finances.

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