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7 Oil Producers Agree to Extraordinary Meeting
Energy

7 Oil Producers Agree to Extraordinary Meeting

Six members of the Organization of Petroleum Exporting Countries and Russia have agreed to hold an extraordinary meeting to deal with tumbling oil prices.
The statement was announced in a meeting between Iran's Oil Minister Bijan Namdar Zanganeh and his Venezuelan counterpart Eulogio Del Pino in Tehran, Shana reported.
"Iran, Iraq, Oman, Algeria, Nigeria, Venezuela and Russia are on board to hold the summit," Del Pino said.
"The current level of prices is critically low … Iran is open to a meeting and Russia previously welcomed the decision. We call on other OPEC members to undertake this historic responsibility [of holding a summit] to restore stability to the global market."
The Venezuelan minister is on a crucial mission to convince oil producing nations into sitting at the negotiating table to cut production and recover prices that have fallen by 70% over the past 18 months.
Zanganeh said Tehran and Caracas have "very close views" regarding the oil market, adding that the two sides explored grounds for expanding ties, now that sanctions against the Islamic Republic are lifted.
In the first leg of his foreign trip, Del Pino visited Moscow and discussed the possibility of a meeting between OPEC member states and non-OPEC Russia. He arrived in Tehran late Wednesday before heading to Doha to discuss the issue with Qatar. Del Pino and his Qatari counterpart Mohammed Al Sada met in Doha on Thursday, as the two sides did not mention any potential cooperation between OPEC and producers outside the group.
The real breakthrough will happen if Saudi Arabia, OPEC's top exporter, jumps on the bandwagon and agrees to cut production. However, the kingdom on Thursday cut prices for its best-quality crude oil for Europe and Asia, signaling that it is not ready to come to terms with rival producers just yet.
Petrodollars make up the lion's share of Venezuela's revenues, but persistently low prices are crippling the South American nation's economy, prompting President Nicolas Maduro to repeatedly call for an emergency meeting.
OPEC has traditionally opted to cut production to maintain higher prices, but the organization shifted ground in a November 2014 meeting after members, led by the kingdom, failed to agree on a production cut and kept pumping more to uphold market share against higher-cost producers such as the United States. The decision shot prices downward and has since piled financial misery on producers, with Saudi Arabia alone posting a nearly $100 billion budget deficit in 2015.

  Iran's Oil Plans
The Iranian oil minister took the opportunity to speak about Iran's new oil and gas contracts on the sidelines of his meeting with Del Pino.
Zanganeh hit out at some of the fierce critics of Iran Petroleum Contract.
"Some are only after slandering and badmouthing … They don’t really want to negotiate," he said. "They [opponents] should accept that we [the Oil Ministry] are officially and legally responsible" for devising the new contractual framework.
Zanganeh also played down the fuss around the new contracts by saying that IPC drafting is still in the works and so far, no contract has been signed with foreign companies. Dozens of people last week protested against the new contracts outside the Oil Ministry building in Tehran. Several government officials, including Majlis Speaker Ali Larijani, denounced the "illegal gathering" and called for calm and dialogue.
"There has always been concern [regarding the contracts] … but critics should be logical and respect the most basic principles" in negotiation, he added.
Tehran aims to boost crude production capacity by 1 million barrels within six months, but needs international technology and equipment to develop its oilfields and raise output.
IPC offers more attractive terms to global companies and is largely seen by analysts as an improvement over out-of-favor buyback contracts that were in place over the past two decades.

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