UPDATE 3-OPEC members Iraq, Nigeria agree to cut oil output

* Iraq, Nigeria have been producing above agreed levels

* Saudi Arabia to continue producing below target

* Oil prices softening due to recession fears (Updates with decisions by OPEC+ committee)

ABU DHABI, Sept 12 (Reuters) - OPEC agreed on Thursday to trim oil output by asking over-producing members Iraq and Nigeria to bring production in line with their targets as the group strives to prevent a glut amid soaring U.S. production and a slowing global economy.

Oil prices have dropped below $60 per barrel in recent weeks from their 2019 peaks of $75 as fears of a global recession outweigh concerns about falling supply from sanctions-hit Iran and Venezuela.

A market monitoring committee formed by the Organization of the Petroleum Exporting Countries and its allies, a grouping known as OPEC+, met on Thursday in Abu Dhabi ahead of their policy discussions in Vienna in December.

OPEC+ has overcomplied on average with its agreed cut of 1.2 million barrels per day (bpd) as Iranian and Venezuelan exports collapsed due to sanctions. But some members, such as Iraq and Nigeria, have been producing above their quota.

Iraq, OPEC's second-largest oil producer, pledged on Thursday to reduce output by 175,000 bpd by October, while Nigeria is to reduce supply by 57,000 bpd.

OPEC's de facto leader, Saudi Arabia, will continue pumping less than its target, said Prince Abdulaziz bin Salman, who took over as energy minister from Khalid al-Falih on Sunday.

The kingdom will voluntarily overdeliver on its targets and pump just below 10 million bpd, Prince Abdulaziz said.

He said the meeting on Thursday also discussed rising U.S. shale output and exports, a global economic slowdown and a possible softening of U.S. sanctions on OPEC member Iran.

Any formal decision on deeper oil cuts could be taken only at the next OPEC+ meeting in December, the prince said.

OPEC, Russia and other non-members agreed in December to reduce production by 1.2 million bpd - or 1.2% of global supply - from Jan. 1 this year.

OPEC’s share of the cut, which now runs to March 2020, is 800,000 bpd, delivered by 11 members and exempting Iran, Libya and Venezuela.

Oil prices tumbled more than 2% on Wednesday after a report that U.S. President Donald Trump was considering easing sanctions on Iran, which could boost global crude supply at a time of lingering worries about energy demand.

Iraq has been raising its production and exports steeply in recent years, while Iran's exports have collapsed over the past year because of U.S. sanctions. (Additional reporting Alex Lawler, Writing by Dmitry Zhdannikov, Nafisa Eltahir and Aziz El Yaakoubi; Editing by Deepa Babington and Mark Potter)

09/12/2019 11:09

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