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Iraq sees $45 oil in first quarter, Minister

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 Iraq, OPEC’s second-biggest oil producer, expects crude prices to remain at around $41 to $42 a barrel this year before rising to $45 in the first quarter of 2021, the state-run Al-Sabah newspaper reported, citing an interview with Oil Minister Ihsan Abdul Jabbar.

Iraq’s exports in October stand at 2.6 million barrels a day and will continue at this level in line with the OPEC+ agreement on limiting global output, Jabbar said. The minister reiterated Iraq’s compliance with the OPEC+ pact and said the country fully complied with its output quota.

The government is basing its 2021 draft budget on a price of $42 a barrel, given the impact of the coronavirus pandemic on demand, the paper reported him saying. Benchmark Brent crude ended trading on Friday at $42.85 a barrel and is down 35% this year.

Brent, which averaged more than $64 last year, plunged in March and April as the coronavirus pandemic stifled fuel use. Iraq is worried about the health of the oil market and remains committed to the OPEC+ deal, including extra cuts to compensate for the country’s previous overproduction, Jabbar told Bloomberg in an interview earlier this month.
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