Baghdad still wants to be a part of the agreement between OPEC states and allies led by Russia as the historic oil deal proved to be an effective tool in boosting the energy market crippled by the coronavirus pandemic.

Iraq did not ask for exemption from the accord, fearing that an increase in production might cause crude prices to tumble again, state-run newspaper Al-Sabah quoted Oil Minister Ihsan Abdul Jabbar as saying. The statement refutes previous reports that claimed that OPEC’s second largest oil producer, which has often been criticized for exceeding its output limits, wants to be free from OPEC quotas.

The minister expects that oil prices can reach about $50 at the beginning of next year while the global demand for the commodity will see a mild recovery, Al-Sabah reported on Sunday.

The statement comes as the group known as OPEC+ is holding informal talks to decide on the future of crude output cuts. The signatories were set to ease the curbs starting in January, but now they are expected to keep limiting global output by 7.7 million barrels per day for another two or three months. The group is set to announce the final decision next week. 

The largest producers of the OPEC+ deal, Russia and Saudi Arabia, have already agreed that the accord should be prolonged for the first quarter of 2021, TASS reported citing two sources in the organization. The sides now reportedly need to work on certain details and the mechanism of the extension.

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