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By Aref Mohhammed
BASRA, Iraq, June 6 (Reuters) - Iraq and Iran have not yet begun exchanging crude oil, for technical reasons, Iraqi Oil Minister Jabar al-Luaibi said on Wednesday, contradicting Iran’s oil ministry news agency.
Iraq agreed last year to ship crude from the northern Kirkuk oil field to Iran for use in its refineries, after which Iran would deliver the same amount of oil to Iraq’s southern ports.
Iran’s oil ministry news agency SHANA said on Sunday the exchange had started.
“So far due to logistical issues the agreement’s implementation has been delayed. We are now in the final stages of implementation. As soon as the issues are resolved we will implement,” Luaibi told Reuters on the sidelines of an oil agreement signing ceremony in Basra.
He also said a production increase was not on the agenda of an OPEC meeting this month.
“We have a meeting on June 22 and we will see how things are going but so far things are going well and the market is stable,” he said in response to a question about pressure from the United States to increase production.
“The most important thing for us in the OPEC meeting is oil market stability and not just prices. So far we have proposed nothing and nothing is on the table.” (Reporting by Aref Mohammed; Writing by Ahmed Aboulenein; Editing by Mark Potter)