Iraq will comply with the OPEC output reduction deal even though it is working hard to increase its oil export capacity from both the country's south and north, its oil minister said Jan. 29.

Jabar al-Luaibi told a Chatham House conference in London Iraq's total capacity was nearing 5 million barrels per day (bbl/d), including 4.6 million bbl/d from the south. Iraq is OPEC's second-largest producer after Saudi Arabia.

Iraq has had to limit its output as OPEC is reducing output by about 1.2 million bbl/d as part of a deal with Russia and other non-OPEC producers until the end of 2018.

"Iraq has made it clear at every time and every event that Iraq will comply with OPEC declarations in good spirit, genuine spirit," the minister said.

He said Iraq hoped to more than double production from the northern Kirkuk oil fields with the help of BP Plc (NYSE: BP).

While exports from the south are at record levels, output in northern Iraq is down after falling in mid-October when Iraqi forces retook control of oil fields from Kurdish fighters who had been there since 2014.

This has had the side-effect of boosting Iraqi compliance with the OPEC cut.

The minister said the oil market was improving, helped by the OPEC deal.