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Oil Updates — Crude steady; OPEC authorizes Iraq to increase output to 4.5m bpd; Kurdish forces seize oil wells
RIYADH: Oil prices rose about 4 percent on Friday as US gasoline prices jumped to a record high, China looked ready to ease pandemic restrictions and investors worried supplies will tighten if the EU bans Russian oil.
Brent futures rose $4.10, or 3.8 percent, to settle at $111.55 a barrel. US West Texas Intermediate (WTI) crude rose $4.36, or 4.1 percent, to settle at $110.49.
That was the highest close for WTI since March 25 and its third straight weekly rise. Brent fell for the first time in three weeks.
OPEC authorizes Iraq to increase output
Iraq’s representative at OPEC said the organization had agreed to the country increasing its output to 4.5 million barrels of oil per day starting from June, the state news agency INA reported on Saturday.
There will be further increases of 50,000 bpd in output in each of the months July, August and September, INA added, citing Muhammad Saadoun’s statements.
Iraq pumped 4.43 million bpd of oil in April, 16,000 bpd above its OPEC+ quota for that month, according to data from state-owned marketer SOMO seen by Reuters on May 11.
Kurdish forces seize oil wells
Forces from the regional Kurdish government have taken control of some oil wells in northern Kirkuk, Iraq’s state-run North Oil Company said in a statement on Saturday, but the Kurdish government denied this.
It said the forces arrived with a technical team from the Kurdish region and took over some of the oil wells in the Bai Hassan oilfield, which is controlled by the North Oil Company.
The statement did not say when the forces arrived and whether they were still there.
The Kurdistan Regional Government denied in a statement on its official website “all allegations and rumors which claim that the regional government had occupied and took over oilfields in Bai Hassan … with the support of an armed force.”
It added: “Public wealth is owned by all Iraqis according to the Iraqi constitution and not one company… If it (North Oil Company) was keen to solve problems, there must be a legislation of the oil and gas law based on the constitution.”
(With input from Reuters)
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