Oil Output Can Reach 5 Million bpd: Ex-Eni CEO

Oil Output Can Reach 5 Million bpd: Ex-Eni CEOOil Output Can Reach 5 Million bpd: Ex-Eni CEO

Iran has the capacity to ramp up its crude production by more than 1 million barrels by 2019, the former chief executive officer of Eni SpA said.

"I can see Iran producing 5 million barrels a day three years from now … They certainly can do this from a hydrocarbon point of view," said Paolo Scaroni, who is now deputy chairman at NM Rothschild & Sons, Bloomberg reported.

Iran's crude output is "slowly but surely" going up, Scaroni said, stressing that the country needs to embrace foreign technology and investment to enhance production from its existing oilfields and aging infrastructure.

"This [cooperation with foreign contractors] will come slowly and as long as peace between Iran and the West will continue to be active," he noted.

According to estimates, Saudi Arabia is OPEC's top producer with 31.3% market share among all members of the organization, followed by Iraq (13.4%), Iran (10.8%) and Kuwait (8.9%).

Iran is pumping more than 3.8 million barrels a day, according to the country's Oil Minister Bijan Namdar Zanganeh who said in the last OPEC meeting in Vienna this month that Iran wants a 14.5% share from the group's total output. That will put Iran's output at around 4.7 million bpd considering OPEC's current production level.

Scaroni also echoed the concerns over massive cutbacks in the petroleum industry.

"The investment has been cut by $1 trillion. That's an immense number. If we look ahead five years from now, there would be some shortage [in production], because oilfields decline 5% every year on average, so production will be 25% less in five years from now."

Scaroni said prices have pared some of the huge losses of the past two years due to higher demand for crude oil and unexpected outages worldwide.

"Production is going down mainly because shale oil is down, Nigeria is in trouble and we have trouble elsewhere such as in Canada. So there is some rebalancing and I have no doubt that oil price will be in the region of $50 to $55 for the rest of the year."

He stressed that higher demand will continue to shore up prices.

"We are already at 97 million barrels a day from emerging markets. India and China are driving the consumption growth along with the US. Consumption is going up by 1 million barrels a day."

Scaroni added that $100 oil is an unlikely scenario and price rally will fizzle before closing in on 2014 highs.

"I believe there is a cap. If prices go beyond $60, shale oil producers will start all over again," and this will push prices downward.