Iraqi oil minister denies seeking exemption from OPEC + output cuts in 2021

Iraqi oil minister Ihsan Ismaael has denied a Reuters report that said Iraq wants to seek an exemption from OPEC+ output cuts in 2021, calling the report “baseless” and reaffirming the country’s support for the curbs agreed in April.

“Iraq welcomed the production adjustment decision reached in April 2020 by all participating countries,” the minister said Oct. 30, according to a statement from state oil marketer SOMO.

“Iraq is very keen on achieving stability and balance on the international oil market.”

A Reuters report published Oct. 29 and quoting OPEC and industry sources said Kuwait, the UAE and Iraq are debating whether to agree to extending oil output cuts into 2021 because they are struggling to stick to their quotas.

The report quoted an unnamed Iraqi oil official as saying that “it will be difficult for Iraq keep cutting output and exports with the same agreed share in 2020 because we are suffering a financial crisis which threatens the possible collapse of the Iraqi economy.”

Lax compliance

Iraq, OPEC’s second largest oil producer, has repeatedly denied media reports it wants to seek an exemption from 2021 output cuts. It has struggled to adhere to its quota this year, but its compliance has improved in recent months.


The Reuters report also said the UAE and Kuwait believe the size of their output cuts is too deep to sustain.

Kuwait’s oil minister Khaled al-Fadhel denied the report on Oct. 29, reiterating the country’s commitment to the current and future OPEC+ deals.

“Kuwait fully supports the joint OPEC+ efforts to restore balance to the oil market and going forward we will support whatever necessary joint decisions will be agreed to under the OPEC+ framework,” the minister said, according to a statement from state-run news agency KUNA.