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By Aref Mohammed
BASRA, Iraq, June 22 (Reuters) - Iraq’s oil exports from fields owned by the central government in Baghdad are at around 3.27 million barrels per day (bpd) so far in June, about the same level as in May, Oil Minister Jabar al-Luaibi said on Thursday.
Total exports for all fields in Iraq, those of Baghdad and the Kurdish region in the north, have averaged 3.8 million bpd so far in June, he told Reuters in the southern oil city of Basra. The country as a whole is producing about 4.315 million bpd, he said.
Kurdish exports are running at about 520,000 to 530,000 bpd so far this month, he said.
Iraq is in “quiet negotiations” with foreign oil companies operating in Iraq to amend their services contract, he said, declining to give more details.
The country wants to change the terms of the contracts it deems no longer in its favour after oil prices collapsed three years ago, when they were in excess of $100 per barrel, to about $45 per barrel now.
Oil prices should start recovering by the end of July, to reach $54 to $56 a barrel by the end of the year, Luaibi said.
Iraq is the Organization of the Petroleum Exporting Countries’ second oil producer, after Saudi Arabia. The group in May rolled over an agreement to cut oil production with other exporting nations, until March, in order to support oil prices.
“Iraq supports the agreement that we reached; if developments happen contrary to OPEC’s interests, the (OPEC) ministers will hold an extraordinary meeting,” he said.
Iraq will continue developing its production capacity and will start executing a sea water injection project in its oilfields at the end of the year, even without an agreement with Exxon, he said.
“We are now in talks with Exxon Mobil, if we don’t reach an agreement, we have other options,” he said.
Reporting by Aref Mohammed in Basra and Ahmed Rasheed in Baghdad; writing by Maher Chmaytelli, editing by David Evans