Saudi-Iraqi cooperation behind boost in oil prices, says Falih

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Saudi Arabia's Oil Minister Khalid al-Falih and his Iraqi counterpart Jabar al-Luaibi, agreed on Saturday to cooperate on implementing decisions by the Organization of Petroleum Exporting Countries to curb oil global oil supply, Iraq's oil ministry said.

The two ministers met in Baghdad, the ministry said in a statement.

Falih was received at the Baghdad International Airport by Luaibi this morning.

Falih later attended the opening of the 44th session of Baghdad International Fair 2017 in which Saudi Arabia is taking part in for the first time.

The global oil market is improving and stabilizing, the Saudi Oil Minister said in the speech at the opening of the exhibition.

Falih praised the cooperation between Iraq and Saudi Arabia, which he said had helped to boost global oil prices.

Speaking later to reporters, he said Saudi Arabia and Iraq were in agreement on the need to “fully comply” with cutbacks in crude output agreed by OPEC, Russia and several other producers to push up prices.

“The market has improved a lot but has still some way to go,” he said, adding that the compliance of the 24 nations taking part in the cutbacks deal “exceeds 100 percent”.

Falih is the first Saudi official to make a public speech in Baghdad for several decades.

The two countries began taking steps towards detente in 2015 after 25 years of troubled relations starting with the Iraqi invasion of Kuwait in 1990. Falih visited Iraq earlier this year.

“The best example of the importance of cooperation between our two countries is the improvement and stability trend seen in the oil market,” said Falih, to applause from the audience of Iraqi ministers, senior officials and businessmen.

Saudi Arabia and Iraq are the largest and second largest producers of the Organization of the Petroleum Exporting Countries (OPEC).

The Iraqi oil ministry said in a statement Falih and his Iraqi counterpart, Luaibi, agreed to cooperate in implementing decisions by oil exporting countries to curb global supply in order to lift crude prices.

OPEC, Russia and other producers have reduced production by about 1.8 million barrels per day (bpd) since the start of 2017, helping to boost oil prices. The cutbacks should continue until March 2018.

(With Reuters)

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