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Iraq has sold its first cargo of Basra Light crude through an auction on the Dubai Mercantile Exchange on Friday.

Opec’s second biggest oil producer is experimenting with an alternative way to get more cash for its crude, as competition with rivals grows more fierce following a three-year market downturn.

The sale is a break from long-term supply deals the Middle East’s biggest producers have traditionally relied on to sell their oil to traders and refiners around the world.

The 2m barrel cargo was sold at a 31 cents a barrel premium to Iraq’s state oil marketer Somo’s June official selling price for the crude, with a stipulation it will be shipped to Asia.

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