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Iraq Plans Record February Basra Oil Exports Despite OPEC Cut in Force

Source: Reuters 1/10/2017, Location: Middle East

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Iraq plans to raise crude exports from its southern port of Basra to an all-time high in February, keeping exports high even as OPEC production cuts take effect this month.

The country's State Oil Marketing Company (SOMO) plans to export 3.641 million barrels per day (bpd) of crude in February, according to trade sources and preliminary loading schedules obtained by Thomson Reuters on Tuesday, potentially beating a record of 3.51 million bpd set in December.

The February volume includes 2.748 million bpd of Basra Light and 893,000 bpd of Basra Heavy, the documents showed. For January, SOMO had planned to export 2.627 million bpd of Basra Light and 903,000 bpd of Basra Heavy.

Basra crude accounts for the bulk of oil exports from Iraq, the second-largest producer in the Organization of the Petroleum Exporting Countries (OPEC). SOMO could not be immediately reached for comment.

Iraq agreed to cut output by 210,000 bpd in the first half of 2017 as part of the OPEC deal despite Baghdad's initial resistance to join the production cuts as it needed oil revenues to fund a war against Islamic State militants.

OPEC and some non-OPEC producers agreed late last year to tackle global oversupply and support prices by reducing output. Iraq's oil ministry said on Tuesday it has cut oil production by 160,000 bpd since the beginning of January in line with the OPEC decision.

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