The Iraqi Oil Minister, Jabar Ali Al-Luaibi, stated that Iraq’s crude exports from the country’s southern ports inched up in December to 3.510mb/d, Iraqi News reported.

Al-Luaibi described December exports as the “highest and unprecedented” so far. He attributed the growth to the ministry’s plans and the work of a handful of international companies developing Iraq’s prized southern fields. November exports from government-controlled fields in central and southern Iraq stood at 3.407mb/d, according to Star Tribune.The ministry’s statement didn’t release figures of crude exports through Iraq’s northern pipeline network run by the semi-autonomous Kurdish region, which typically average about 600,000b/d.

However, the ministry assured that the increase would not affect Iraq’s decision to cut production in line with the Organization for Petroleum Exporting Countries’ (OPEC) mandate. The OPEC deal aims to lower output for a six-month period by 1.2mb/d to prop up plummeted oil prices, starting from January. The 14-member group is supposed to produce 32.5mb/d. Non-OPEC nation also agreed to pare an additional 600,000b/d off their production.

Al-Luaibi concluded that Iraq, OPEC’s second-largest producer, has already started measures to reduce output by 200,000b/d to 4.351mb/d, as per Iraq’s share in the deal. He expressed his satisfaction that current oil prices hovered around $53 per barrels, up from $40s before OPEC’s agreement.