Iraqi oil dilemma: to freeze or not to freeze

With the oil sector providing more than 90 percent of government revenues, Iraq’s dependence on the industry is among the highest in the region (source: macpixxel for GIS)
With the oil sector providing more than 90 percent of government revenues, Iraq’s dependence on the industry is among the highest in the region (source: macpixxel for GIS)

In recent years, the international community has focused on the North American shale industry and its impact on the Organization of Petroleum Exporting Countries (OPEC), particularly Saudi Arabia. The United States led the growth in global oil supply in 2015, thanks to shale oil’s unexpected resilience in the face of lower prices. OPEC continues to stick to its position that it will not cut production. However, Saudi Arabia announced earlier this year that it was ready to freeze its production if other OPEC members follow suit. At the center of these developments, one country stands out: Iraq.

Iraq is OPEC’s second largest producer after Saudi Arabia and was the second biggest contrib...

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