OPEC+ Decisions Aim to Maintain Stability Across Global Energy Market, Says Iraqi Minister

A Liberian oil tanker in the port of Havana (AFP)
A Liberian oil tanker in the port of Havana (AFP)
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OPEC+ Decisions Aim to Maintain Stability Across Global Energy Market, Says Iraqi Minister

A Liberian oil tanker in the port of Havana (AFP)
A Liberian oil tanker in the port of Havana (AFP)

Iraqi Oil Minister Hayan Abdulghani said that OPEC and OPEC+ issued several decisions that target oil prices, stabilize the global oil market, and protect the interests of producers, consumers, and investors.

The Iraqi News Agency quoted him as saying that the voluntary reduction in oil output will boost stability across the global energy market, considering that adding new OPEC members aims to bolster efforts to ensure the strength of the worldwide market and benefit all member countries and investors.

The minister confirmed that Iraq seeks to achieve self-sufficiency in gas within five years through the sixth round of licensing contracts.

The Arab World News Agency quoted him as saying that Iraq has plans to boost its gas output by 1,500 million cubic feet over the next five years through its recent initiative to license exploration operations across ten oil and gas fields in western Iraq and 13 sites on the country's western border.

He explained that this round provides more than 800 million cubic feet of gas, saying that the sixth round, which has already been launched, includes gas exploration patches located on the western borders of Iraq.

Meanwhile, oil prices rose slightly on Friday and were on track for their second straight weekly gain, as resilient demand resulted in a larger-than-expected fall in US oil stocks, offsetting fears of higher US interest rates.

Brent crude futures were up 20 cents, or 0.3 percent, at $76.72 a barrel, while US West Texas Intermediate (WTI) crude gained 19 cents, also 0.3 percent, to $71.99 a barrel.

Both benchmarks were set to gain about two percent for the second straight week.

"The crude demand outlook is starting to look better as we enter peak summer travel in the US and as the Saudis were able to raise prices to Europe and Asia," said Edward Moya, an analyst at OANDA.

The Energy Information Administration announced that US crude stocks fell more than expected on solid refining demand, while gasoline inventories posted a large draw after an increase in driving last week.

Saudi Arabia and Russia announced a fresh round of output cuts for August.

The total cuts now stand at more than five million barrels per day (bpd), equating to five percent of global oil output.

However, oil price gains were capped by strengthening expectations that the US central bank will likely raise interest rates at its July 25-26 meeting after holding rates steady at 5 percent-5.25 percent in June.

Data showed that the number of US filing new claims for unemployment benefits increased moderately last week, while private payrolls surged in June, raising the likelihood of a Federal Reserve rate hike this month.

Higher interest rates increase borrowing costs for businesses and consumers, which could slow economic growth and reduce oil demand.

OPEC will likely maintain an optimistic view on oil demand growth for next year when it publishes its first outlook later this month, predicting a slowdown from this year but still an above-average increase, sources close to OPEC said.



Saudi Arabia to Sell 0.64% Aramco Stake

Saudi Arabia is offering 1.545 billion Aramco shares. Reuters
Saudi Arabia is offering 1.545 billion Aramco shares. Reuters
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Saudi Arabia to Sell 0.64% Aramco Stake

Saudi Arabia is offering 1.545 billion Aramco shares. Reuters
Saudi Arabia is offering 1.545 billion Aramco shares. Reuters

Saudi Arabia is selling a 0.64% stake in oil giant Aramco, a statement said on Thursday.

Saudi Arabia is offering 1.545 billion Aramco shares and the offering period will commence on June 2.

The price range is expected to be between SAR 26.70 and SAR 29.00 per share.