Zanganeh to Attend OPEC Talks in Sept.

Iran’s attendance could mark a turning point in OPEC’s efforts to stabilize faltering oil prices. Iran’s attendance could mark a turning point in OPEC’s efforts to stabilize faltering oil prices. 

Iran’s Oil Minister Bijan Namdar Zanganeh announced on Friday that the country is ready to cooperate with members of the Organization of Petroleum Exporting Countries in capping oil prices.

“Iran will support any attempt to manage and stabilize the global oil market,” Zanganeh was also quoted as saying by IRNA at a news conference in Asalouyeh, Bushehr Province.

Zanganeh noted that he will attend the informal OPEC meeting in Algeria in September,  but stressed that Iran’s share of oil market must reach the pre-sanctions level.

The gathering toward the end of next month will be held on the sidelines of an International Energy Forum industry conference.

For several days, oil prices had moved higher in response to reports that Iran would attend the meeting. This fueled speculation that Iran may take part in any coordinated action to prop up the oil market.

“It is not meaningful to expect Iran, which has endured sanctions for years and did not play a role in the market instability, to sacrifice its production now in order to balance the market,” he stressed.

The minister referred to the commencement of the downward trend of oil prices in 2014, and said that at the time, Iran was only exporting about 1 million barrels per day.

“We expect the countries, which had created the instability, to fulfill their roles in bringing balance back to the oil market,” he noted.

Zanganeh underscored that what is important for Iran is regaining market share in the oil industry, which is a “national wish”.

“Iran will assist OPEC in restoring prices, but other members should also acknowledge our rights,” he said.

----- Remarks Influencing Prices

Oil prices cautiously rose on Thursday, as Iran said it would join talks on global output with other OPEC members and Russia, Channel News Asia reported.

Iran’s attendance could mark a turning point in the organization’s efforts to stabilize faltering oil prices.

With Iran’s production at 3.85 million barrels a day and prices still more than 50% below the $100 a barrel level seen in mid-2014, some analysts believe a collective production cap would be in Iran’s interests.

This is while Saudi Arabian Oil Minister Khalid Al-Falih told Reuters late on Thursday that "we don't believe any significant intervention in the market is necessary other than to allow the forces of supply and demand to do the work for us", adding that the "market is moving in the right direction" already.

As a result, oil prices fell on Friday after the Saudi minister's remarks tempered expectations of strong market intervention by producers during the September talks, and as analysts pointed to an ongoing supply overhang that was weighing on markets.

International benchmark Brent crude oil prices were trading at $49.46 per barrel, down 21 cents from their previous close.

Talks of a production freeze with non-OPEC countries such as Russia earlier this year in Doha ended in failure after Saudi Arabia refused to participate in any deal without Iran.

Iran did not attend the gathering and said it would not curb its production until it had reached the level it was at before international sanctions were imposed on its oil industry.

In recent weeks, OPEC producers, including Venezuela, have made renewed attempts for cooperation with non-OPEC nations after oil prices came again under pressure.

The new OPEC Secretary-General Mohammed Barkindo is due to visit Iran and Qatar early next month.