Iraq has declined to join efforts by the Organization of the Petroleum Exporting Countries to trim output to stabilize oil markets.
The nation, OPEC’s second-largest producer, should be exempted from cutting production because it is embroiled in a war with Islamic State militants, Bloomberg quoted Oil Minister Jabber Al-Luaibi as saying at a news conference in Baghdad on Sunday.
Iraq produced more than 4.7 million barrels a day in September, and the government has urged international companies to boost production at its fields, he said.
“We are with OPEC policy and OPEC unity, but this should not be at our expense,” Al-Luaibi said.
OPEC is trying to woo other producers to join in the group’s first output cuts in eight years, a policy shift that members agreed to last month in Algiers, the report said.
Crude plunged to a 12-year low in January, hammering the budgets of producers from Venezuela to Saudi Arabia.
The price slide led OPEC to abandon the Saudi-led policy of allowing members to pump as much as they could in an effort to protect market share.
Russia refused again on Sunday to commit to joining the plan.
Energy Minister Alexander Novak said the country is reviewing “many scenarios” in the market before deciding whether to freeze or cut output.
“We see reasons to take steps to balance the market in coming months to bring investments back and reduce volatility,” he said.
“We discussed issues related to levels of limiting oil production by Russia and by other countries that may join the agreement, but it’s too early to tell the concrete figures because the process of finalizing positions is going on.”
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