OPEC Again Excludes Iraq from Oil Quotas

By Omar al-Shaher for Al-Monitor. Any opinions expressed are those of the author, and do not necessarily reflect the views of Iraq Business News. 

The Iraqi Ministry of Oil affirmed that Baghdad’s share in oil production will not be part of the OPEC specified quotas for 2014. The ministry said it was likely for Iraq to reach the required export rate in the next year.

Iraq is one of the founders of OPEC, an organization that brings together 12 oil exporting countries. Iraq's production quota — which was 3.8 million barrels a day — was suspended during the invasion of Kuwait as part of imposed international sanctions.

Assem Jihad, the spokesman for the Iraqi Ministry of Oil, told Al-Monitor, “The exclusion of Iraq from the ministerial decision of OPEC in regard to reducing production came as a result of the fact that Iraq already exports less than its quota requires.”

Jihad explained, “OPEC announced reducing the production of raw crude to 1.5 million barrels a day,” clarifying that Iraq will not be impacted because it “exports the oil outside the framework of specified quotas and it does not have a fixed share.”

Jihad added, “The Iraqi current crude production does not match the official reserve estimated at 115 billion barrels, since Iraq was banned for years after the Gulf War and the UN blockade on Iraq from exporting oil.” Jihad pointed out that the production rates “have not improved post-2003; therefore, Iraq remained far from achieving its real production capacity, even if the development in the oil sector continued at a normal pace.”

Talking about the production ceiling under normal circumstances, Jihad noted, “OPEC experts decide on it according to the reserve of each country,” and “even if Iraq was able to produce 4 million barrels a day by next year, as expected, its share will remain less than what OPEC would have specified if Iraq’s oil industry developed normally.”

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