Doha Backs Tehran's Return to Oil Market

Doha Backs Tehran's Return to Oil MarketDoha Backs Tehran's Return to Oil Market

OPEC member Qatar supports the idea of Iran's return to global oil market and the country's plan to reclaim the ground it lost to rival producers due to sanctions, the country's minister of energy and industry said in a statement.

"We will maintain our relations with Iran and support it in the marketplace," Mohamed bin Saleh al-Sada was quoted as saying by ISNA on Monday.

Tehran is keen to raise crude production by 500,000 barrels per day within a week after the lifting of sanctions and by an additional 1 million cubic meters in the following six months to reach the pre-sanctions level.

Iran's Oil Minister Bijan Namdar Zanganeh on Sunday blamed other members of the Organization of Petroleum Exporting Countries for the excess crude supply and pledged that the Persian Gulf country will raise output whether or not rival producers make room for extra Iranian crude.

OPEC pumped 32.1 million bpd in November, exceeding its 30 million-barrel quota, according to a Bloomberg survey. Data show the organization supplied 31.76 million bpd and 31.64 million bpd of oil in September and October, respectively.

The Persian Gulf country was OPEC's second largest producer in 2011, but sanctions cut its pre-sanctions output of 2.6 million to 1.4 million bpd in 2014, according to the US Energy Information Administration.

Qatar was the second-smallest OPEC producer with 1.5 million bpd of crude oil in 2014, EIA data show.

Sada added that Doha is "not happy" with current oil prices.

"[Oil] prices are very low. We need fair prices to make investment in this sector," he said.

On his idea of a normal price range for crude oil, he said, "A fair price is a fair price … Prices depend on the world economy, not just the producers. Fair prices would spur investment."

Sada said last week that there are signs of a market recovery next year, as non-OPEC supply growth is set to slow.

  Nigeria on Board

Nigeria's Oil Minister Emmanuel Kachikwu said in a statement last week that added Iranian output will be accommodated by declining US shale production.

"I would imagine that initial levels will be moderate. It will take time to scale all their [Iranian] production facilities; it will be moderate, but they will fit in [within OPEC]," he said. "With the drop in shale production, we will all see Iran lift most of its weight and market base."

Kachikwu had earlier said his country would ask OPEC to persuade Iran to delay its planned exports during the 168th OPEC summit on December 4.

Earlier this year, the EIA warned that additional oil volumes from Iran "are expected to put downward pressure on global oil prices in 2016".