OPEC Seeking World Oil Price Balance: Iraq

OPEC is seeking a balance in world oil prices, but political instability rather than production issues are affecting the market price, Iraqi Oil Minister Abdul Kareem Luaibi said on Monday.

Brent crude slipped around $1 on Monday after Iran agreed to resume talks on its disputed nuclear program, easing fears over a supply disruption, and prices were under pressure on demand growth concerns.

“OPEC is still doing its best to produce enough crude to meet demand, but political issues are affecting prices. World prices are affected more by political instability than by production issues,” Luaibi told reporters.

He said he expected Iraq’s oil exports to be at 2.3 million barrels per day, or slightly more, in April.

Iraq was still studying whether to allow Exxon Mobil to take part in a fourth oil bidding round due to a dispute over contracts it signed with Iraqi Kurdistan, he said.

Exxon has signed up to explore for oil in autonomous Kurdistan region, upsetting Baghdad’s central government which sees those contracts as illegal. Iraq’s government has warned Exxon it may face sanctions over the Kurdish deals.

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