Zanganeh Reiterates Tenacity to Restore Position in OPEC

Iraq’s oil output stands at 4.6 million bpd.Iraq’s oil output stands at 4.6 million bpd.

Iran is making concerted efforts to reclaim its previous ranking in oil production among members of the Organization of Petroleum Exporting Countries, Oil Minister Bijan Namdar Zanganeh said on Tuesday.

Zanganeh said on Tuesday that Iran was OPEC's No.2 producer before the international sanctions were tightened in 2011, stressing that "reclaiming the spot from fellow producer Iraq demands time and strategic planning," IRNA reported.

Iraq's crude production stands at 4.2 million barrels per day, he Zanganeh added, noting that Iran is lagging behind the war-stricken Arab neighbor with an output of 3.8 million bpd.

Iran is currently the third largest OPEC producer after Saudi Arabia, the group's de facto leader that posted a record output of 10.67 million bpd in July, and second-placed Iraq that produced 4.6 million bpd, according to OPEC's monthly report published in August.

"Were it not for the substantial foreign investment in Iraq's oil and gas sector, they would not have been able to hold such a position," Zanganeh noted.

Nonetheless, unlike its war-torn neighbor, Iran has been unable to attract the much-needed foreign investments and modern technology nor overhaul its dilapidated its exploration and production technology.

Referring to Iran's joint oil and gas fields with Iraq, namely Azadegan, Yaran and Yadavarn, the minister noted, "Three years ago our total output from joint fields was hardly 70,000 bpd. Now production has exceeded 215,000 bpd, which equals that of Iraq. Moreover, there are plans to boost output to 700,000 bpd in two years.

  Positive Effects of Nuclear Deal

On the significant effects of the nuclear deal with the world powers, known as the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action, Zanganeh, said, "During the sanctions era, we were not allowed to export more than 1 million bpd and the situation took a turn for the worse when the crude export revenue also could not be transferred to the country via banking channels. That imposed extra cost on the ministry."

He added that Iran was the fourth-biggest crude supplier to China in July.

The world's second-largest economy took in an average of 7.5 million bpd last month, with Saudi Arabia, Russia and Angola being the top crude oil suppliers to China in June, accounting for 18%, 13% and 10%, respectively.

Expressing satisfaction with the release of frozen assets and machinery in after the sanctions were eased, he said, "Most of the machinery and equipment has arrived in the country and are being installed in the South Pars projects."

Asked about development plans to manufacture oil equipment at home, Zanganeh urged domestic producers to double their efforts and tap into regional markets one of which could be Iraq, which he said has huge potential.

The minister believes that oil installations are dilapidated and replacing them with modern systems cannot be realized unless international giants are persuaded to invest in the key oil and gas sector.

"The Oil Ministry welcomes private Iranian companies wanting to invest in (oil and gas) provided they have all that is required."