Iraq Opens Up to Agencies on Output Ahead of OPEC Wrangles
Iraq will later this month host influential bodies that assess oil production levels, ahead of an OPEC meeting when the topic will become even hotter as members jostle over allocations.
OPEC's second largest producer has invited international organisations and media groups who estimate its production to visit the oil ministry in Baghdad and possibly the southern oil city of Basra.
The meetings, scheduled for Oct. 24-25, are "for the purpose of sharing, in details, the most accurate figures of Iraqi oil production," state-owned Oil Marketing Company SOMO said in the invitation letter received by Reuters.
"During the said meetings, you will also have the chance to register the agency you are representing for a periodic publication that is expected to meet your requirements in estimating oil production in Iraq."
Iraqi Oil Minister Jabar Ali al-Luaibi has questioned one of the two methods OPEC is using to estimate the oil output of its members, signalling the issue could be a problem for the country to join a potential deal limiting production the group has agreed on in Algeria last week.
The Organization of the Petroleum Exporting Countries, which meets on Nov.30, uses two sets of figures for output estimates - submissions by the countries themselves and estimates by secondary sources, which are usually lower.
The secondary sources put Iraq's production for August at 4.343 million barrels per day.
But according to the OPEC figures, Iraq reported its output as 4.638 million bpd in August.
The six secondary sources currently used by OPEC are: oil-pricing agencies Platts and Argus, The Paris-based International Energy Agency (IEA), the U.S. Energy Information Administration (EIA), consultancy Cambridge Energy Research Associates (CERA) and industry newsletter Petroleum Intelligence Weekly (PIW).
Reuters produces its own estimates of OPEC output and was also invited to Iraq, although it is not one of the secondary sources.
(Reporting by Rania El Gamal)