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Iraqi Oil Facilities Secure: OPEC Secretary General

Iraq's oil facilities are secure and the country's production is continuing, the Organization of Petroleum Exporting Countries' (OPEC) Secretary General Mohammed Barkindo announced on Wednesday.

"It is a big relief that the oil facilities remain safe in Iraq, and production is continuing and effective," he said during a conference in Abu Dhabi. He said he remains optimistic that Iraq can reach 100% compliance with the OPEC oil cuts in a timely manner despite the current tension.

However, in a letter to U.S. President Donald Trump, Barkindo said that OPEC could not take responsibility for keeping the oil market balanced. "Our measure is oil stocks, not oil prices," he warned.

Despite the recent attack, OPEC has enough spare capacity to meet any decline in oil output, which is currently around 3-3.5 million barrels per day, according to Barkindo.

Brent crude was up during early trading on Wednesday as Iran's missile attacks on U.S. bases in Iraq escalated tensions in the Middle East, and threatened secure oil supply from the region.

Brent crude was trading at $69 per barrel at 0630 GMT on Wednesday for a 0.8% increase after ending Tuesday at $68.46 a barrel. The international benchmark rose to as high as $71.28 per barrel earlier Wednesday, passing the milestone of $70 a barrel for the second time this week, the first of which was made on Monday.

American benchmark West Texas Intermediate, on the other hand, was down 2.5% to trade at $63.26 a barrel at the same time on Wednesday after closing the previous session at $64.90 per barrel. Qassem Soleimani, the head of the IRGC's elite Quds Force, was killed in a U.S. drone strike outside Baghdad International Airport early Friday.

His death marked a dramatic escalation in tensions between the U.S. and Iran, which have often been at a fever pitch since Trump chose in 2018 to unilaterally withdraw Washington from a 2015 nuclear pact world powers struck with Tehran.

(Anadolu Agency)

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