Middle East tensions pose 'challenge' to oil market stability - Iraqi minister

Gas burns off at the al-Shuaiba oil refinery in southwest Basra, Iraq April 20, 2017. REUTERS/Essam Al-Sudani

BAGHDAD (Reuters) - Growing tensions in the Middle East pose a challenge to the stability of global crude oil markets, Iraq’s oil minister said on Tuesday.

He said that OPEC’s ministerial monitoring committee, known as the JMMC, must monitor markets to pave the way for a “new agreement” to be discussed at an upcoming OPEC meeting in Vienna to help stabilise markets and support prices.

The next OPEC oil policy meeting will be held in early July, Thamer Ghadhban said in a statement. The meeting is to decide whether to extend the pact or adjust it.

“The meeting tasked the Joint Technical Committee to continue with market analysis and monitoring until next ministerial meeting in early July in Vienna”, Ghadhban said in a statement.

The panel of top oil producers, including Saudi Arabia, Russia and Iraq, was meeting in Jeddah on Sunday.

The Organization of the Petroleum Exporting Countries (OPEC), Russia and other non-member producers have reduced output by 1.2 million barrels per day since Jan. 1.

Reporting by Ahmed Rasheed and John Davison, editing by Louise Heavens