(Bloomberg) -- Iraq said its oil exports would stay steady this month and rise slightly in February.

Crude shipments will probably average 3.2 million barrels a day in January from fields controlled by the central government, Ali Nizar, deputy director-general of state marketing company Somo, told reporters on Sunday in Baghdad. The figure will rise to 3.3 million next month, he said.

Those numbers exclude exports from the semi-autonomous northern region of Kurdistan, whose government exports about 340,000 barrels a day.

Baghdad and Kurdish officials have said a temporary shutdown last week of a pipeline carrying Iraqi crude to the Turkish port of Ceyhan would have no impact on the country’s exports.

Refiners Hurting

Iraq is carefully watching oil markets and the increase in prices in recent weeks is starting to hurt refiners that buy Iraqi oil, Nizar said. OPEC+ will continue working to balance the oil market, he said.

The 23-nation group, of which Iraq is the biggest producer after Saudi Arabia and Russia, is raising output after carrying out deep cuts in 2020 soon after the coronavirus pandemic started. It’s meant to be easing those curbs by 400,000 barrels per day each month, though many members are experiencing production problems, causing the group to undershoot its targets.

That’s contributed to crude’s roughly 13% rise this year to more than $85 a barrel. An increasing number of analysts say oil could reach $100 a barrel this year, potentially worsening the rise in global inflation and hindering the economic recovery from the pandemic.

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