Iraq Pledges to Support an OPEC Freeze Deal, Shifting Its Stance


Iraq would support a proposal for OPEC and other major oil producers to freeze output at talks in Algeria next month, Prime Minister Haidar Al-Abadi said in Baghdad.

The endorsement marks a slight shift by Al-Abadi, who was quoted by Reuters on Aug. 23 saying that Iraq still hadn’t raised production sufficiently. The country’s deputy oil minister, Fayyad Al-Nima, said the following day that Iraq would support measures to establish fair crude prices.

The Organization of Petroleum Exporting Countries will hold informal talks during an industry conference in Algiers in September, fanning speculation the group could revive an initiative with non-members such as Russia to limit output. A previous attempt collapsed in April amid political tensions between Saudi Arabia and Iran.

“Our opinion is to freeze output to support prices,” Al-Abadi said. “The drop in oil prices is causing volatility and this is harming Iraq because our revenues are based on oil.”

Iraq is the second-biggest member of OPEC, whose other major producers have signaled only qualified backing for an output accord.
(by Khalid Al Ansary and Kadhim Arash, Bloomberg)