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Iraq hikes southern oil output to make up for Kirkuk losses

© AFP | An Iraqi oil worker checks pipelines at the Bai Hassan oil field west of Kirkuk on October 19, 2017 after its recapture by government forces

BAGHDAD (AFP) - 

Iraq said it hiked southern oil production by 200,000 barrels per day on Saturday to compensate for a halt in pumping in Kirkuk province because of its conflict with the Kurds.

"Basra Oil Company (BOC) started to pump an extra 200,000 bpd from the south and centre" in addition to the 2.2 million barrels exported daily, Oil Minister Jabbar al-Luaybi said in a statement.

He said the move was to compensate for the loss of exports from the oil-rich northern province of Kirkuk which Iraqi security forces retook from Kurdish fighters in a military operation this week.

The arrangement would continue "until exports from the north return to normal", Luaybi said, adding it would not violate Iraq's OPEC commitment to stick to a lower output quota.

Before the conflict, the Iraqi Kurds were exporting an average of 550,000 bpd via a pipeline through Turkey, half of which was pumped from the Kirkuk fields where production has halted.

At the opening of the Baghdad International Fair on Saturday, Saudi Energy Minister Khalid al-Falih hailed what he called "the new Iraq, on the ambitious road to prosperity and growth while strengthening its relations with the world".

Iraqi Prime Minister Haider al-Abadi is on Sunday to take part in Riyadh along with 10 of his ministers in a meeting of the two countries' coordination commission, according to Iraq's ambassador to the Saudi kingdom, Roshdy al-Ani.

© 2017 AFP