UPDATE 1-Iraq says to comply with OPEC deal despite oil export capacity rise

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LONDON, Jan 29 (Reuters) – Iraq will comply with the OPEC output reduction deal even though it is working hard to increase its oil export capacity from both the country’s south and north, its oil minister said on Monday.

Jabar al-Luaibi told a Chatham House conference in London Iraq’s total capacity was nearing 5 million barrels per day (bpd), including 4.6 million bpd from the south. Iraq is OPEC’s second-largest producer after Saudi Arabia.

Iraq has had to limit its output as the Organization of the Petroleum Exporting Countries is reducing output by about 1.2 million barrels per day (bpd) as part of a deal with Russia and other non-OPEC producers until the end of 2018.

“Iraq has made it clear at every time and every event that Iraq will comply with OPEC declarations in good spirit, genuine spirit,” the minister said.

He said Iraq hoped to more than double production from the northern Kirkuk oilfields with the help of BP.

While exports from the south are at record levels, output in northern Iraq is down after falling in mid-October when Iraqi forces retook control of oilfields from Kurdish fighters who had been there since 2014.

This has had the side-effect of boosting Iraqi compliance with the OPEC cut.

The minister said the oil market was improving, helped by the OPEC deal. (Reporting by Alex Lawler and Dmitry Zhdannikov; editing by Jason Neely and David Evans)



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