The figure is considerably higher than independent assessments of OPEC’s spare capacity, and indicates that OPEC will have sufficient room for manoeuvre if Iraqi production is damaged by potential conflict. Iraqi output has fluctuated in recent months: it averaged 2.2 million b/d in December (MEED 17:1:03, Cover Story).

Attiyah also said OPEC already was meeting international market demand: ‘We ask our customers every day and they don’t feel the need for more oil now.’