Iraq urges one million bpd cut in OPEC output : LUSENET : Grassroots Information Coordination Center (GICC) : One Thread

Iraq urges one million bpd cut in OPEC output Updated: Tue, Oct 16 10:06 AM EDT

BAGHDAD, Oct 16 (Reuters) - Iraq urged OPEC on Tuesday to slash oil output by one million barrels a day in a bid to lift crude prices back towards its $25-a-barrel target, the official Iraqi News Agency (INA) said.

Iraq, whose oil exports are not bound by OPEC because of 11-year-old United Nations sanctions, blamed OPEC for the recent fall in prices, which has wiped 25 percent off the price of a barrel in a month.

"Iraq asked OPEC member states to cut output by one million barrels a day immediately to regain stability of the world oil market and achieve a new level of prices," INA quoted Oil Minister Amir Muhammed Rasheed as saying.

"Iraq has been watching with concern oil's recent sharp slide and so it urges OPEC to take immediate and decisive measures to protect interests of its member states," Rasheed added.

OPEC's 10 members with quotas have already sliced a total 3.5 million barrels per day (bpd) off their output ceiling this year to defend a $25 per barrel target for its basket of crude oil exports, which stood at $19.63 per barrel on Monday.

"A fall of the price of a barrel of OPEC's basket of crude oil by more than $4 in a short time would inflict huge damage to the economies of its member states and other oil exporting developing countries," Rasheed said.

Rasheed said some of the cartel members were to blame for the fall of prices by failing to comply with the official exports limits, adding that Iraq had addressed letters to OPEC's oil ministers explaining reasons behind fall in prices.

"Despite OPEC decision to cut oil output by 3.5 million barrels per day... actual production has been decreased by a million barrels a day only, at a time world demand on oil is hit by a slowdown in the economic growth of main consuming countries," he said.

The International Energy Agency said on Friday that OPEC's last cut of one million barrels per day, which came into effect on September 1, had translated into reductions in output of just 450,000 bpd due to cheating on quotas.

Oil prices drifted lower on Tuesday as an increasingly impatient market bet against OPEC moving quickly to cut output. Benchmark November Brent stood 19 cents down at $21.49 at 1403 GMT.

The sickly global economy is undermining consumption during the peak winter demand period for oil and dealers expect further losses unless OPEC acts quickly rather than waiting until a planned OPEC ministerial meeting in Vienna on November 14.

-- Martin Thompson (, October 16, 2001

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