Iraq, the nation adding more new oil to global markets than any other supplier in OPEC, said it needs to boost production and exports of crude to compensate for collapsing prices.

“Because of the new challenges, especially the price of oil, Iraq has to try its best to raise it oil production and exports,” Deputy Prime Minister Rowsch Nuri Shaways said Wednesday at the World Economic Forum in Davos, Switzerland.

Iraq has lost about 50 % of its revenues because of the slump in oil, Shaways said. An agreement last month between the country’s federal government and the semi-autonomous Kurdish region will boost exports by more than 550,000 b/d, he said. The nation is pumping at about 4 million b/d, already a record, Oil Minister Adel Abdul Mahdi said Jan. 19.

Oil slid more than 50 % since June as the U.S. pumped at the fastest pace in more than three decades and the Organization of Petroleum Exporting Countries maintained its daily production target of 30 million barrels, resisting calls to makes cuts to reduce a supply glut.

OPEC’s crude output rose by 80,000 b/d last month to 30.48 million as additional oil from Iraqi fields more than offset a collapse in Libyan production, the International Energy Agency said in its monthly market report Jan. 16. The Paris-based adviser to 29 nations cut its forecast for supply growth outside OPEC by 350,000 b/d to 950,000, with reductions for Colombia, Canada and the U.S.

“The expected slowdown in U.S. production continues to be surpassed by increased OPEC production,” Ole Sloth Hansen, an analyst at Saxo Bank A/S in Copenhagen, said by e-mail Tuesday. “The market was actually getting ready to make an upside attempt” until Iraq’s oil minister said output was at a record, he said.

Oil prices won’t rebound until production growth slows, Pulitzer Prize-winning oil historian Daniel Yergin said in an interview in Davos Tuesday.

Brent crude, the international benchmark, fell 48 % last year and lost a further 14 % this month. Futures for March settlement advanced 2.5 %, or $1.21, to $49.20 a barrel on the London-based ICE Futures Europe exchange at 3:59 p.m. local time.

“The time has come for a meeting, possibly a summit meeting, for all producers, OPEC and non-OPEC,” to discuss ways to lift oil prices, Ayad Allawi, a Vice President of Iraq, said in an interview. “Next year we will start seeing prices rising, it will level off between $60 and $70. This year it will remain between $40 and $50.”

Source: Bloomberg