By John Lee.
Iraqi Oil Minister Adel Abdel Mahdi [Adil Abd Al-Mahdi] (pictured) told Reuters on Thursday that Iraq’s plans to increase oil output this year will go ahead, with exports running in January at a record level and unaffected by Iran’s return to the market.
He told the news agency he expects output from the country's southern region to increase by up to 400,000 bpd this year to over 4 million bpd.
The minister said Iraq has made contracts with Chinese refineries covering all of 2016, adding:
"In fact, we in Iraq are not short of contracts ... the demand [for] our oil is more than our offer, even with the return of Iran. Iraqi oil will remain cheap for China ... Our 2016 term contracts are fully booked."
He said the average cost of extraction in southern Iraq is about $10 per barrel.
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