CAIRO, April 20 (Reuters) - Iraq supports an extension of a deal between oil exporters to reduce global supply in order to support crude prices, the leader of the nation’s Shi‘ite ruling coalition Ammar al-Hakim told Reuters.
Speaking in Cairo, he cautioned that Baghdad could ask to be exempted from taking part in the supply curbs as the nation needed its oil income to fight Islamic State.
“Given these sensitive circumstances, it is the right of Iraq to hope for an exemption by the other OPEC member states and have an opportunity to increase its production,” Hakim, an influential cleric, said in an interview late on Wednesday.
“But we are with the principle of reducing the overall OPEC supply to lift prices.”
OPEC is due to meet in May to decide on an extension of supply curbs decided late last year to lift prices. Iraq is OPEC’s second-largest producer, after Saudi Arabia.
Hakim is the president of the National Alliance, a coalition of the main Shi‘ite political groups including Prime Minister Haider al-Abadi’s Dawa party. The Shi‘ite community forms a majority in Iraq. (Reporting by Mahmoud Mourad in Cairo; Writing by Maher Chmaytelli in Erbil, editing by David Evans)