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|10 December, 2018

Iraqi oil minister expects prices to rise over time

If OPEC had not cut production, prices would have reached $45-50 per barrel: minister

New Iraqi oil minister Thamer Ghadhban speaks during a handover ceremony at the ministry's headquarters in Baghdad, Iraq October 31, 2018.

New Iraqi oil minister Thamer Ghadhban speaks during a handover ceremony at the ministry's headquarters in Baghdad, Iraq October 31, 2018.

REUTERS/Khalid Al-Mousily

BAGHDAD  - Iraqi Oil Minister Thamer Ghadhban said on Monday he expected the fall in oil prices to stop and for prices to rise over time, adding that if OPEC had not cut production, prices would have dropped to $45-50 per barrel.

Speaking at a ministry event in Baghdad, Ghadhban said the recent fall in Iraqi exports was not due to technical reasons, as Iraqi oil fields have high capacity, but rather because of weather conditions.

"Our goal is to reach an export capacity of 6.5 million barrels per day but over several stages," he said.

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Speaking about the recent Kirkuk oil deal with the semi-autonomous Kurdistan Regional Government (KRG), Ghadhban said state oil marketer SOMO had received preferential prices, albeit for low quantities.

Iraq last month restarted exports of Kirkuk oil, halted a year ago due to a standoff between the central government and the KRG, after a new government in Baghdad agreed a tentative deal with Erbil.

(Reporting by Moayed Kenany; Writing by Ahmed Aboulenein; Editing by Mark Potter) ((ahmed.aboulenein@tr.com; +964 790 191 7021; Reuters Messaging: ahmed.aboulenein.thomsonreuters.com@reuters.net))

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