Iraq is selling more crude oil to its biggest customer in China digging a deeper foothold in the global supply market just before production cuts agreed with OPEC and other producers kick in.
The country also has new deals with Indian and US refiners coming on stream.
The expanded contract with the trading arm of Asia’s largest refiners means Baghdad will have to reduce supply to other clients to honour its commitment to cut output by 210,000 barrels per day from 2017.
According to reports, the contract with Unipec was signed just before Opec countries agreed with other producers to cut output by as much 1.8million barrels per day.
Iraq is Opec’s second biggest producer behind Saudi Arabia and now ranks third among crude suppliers to China after Russia and Saudi Arabia.