Tehran Leaves Door Open for Joining Freeze Deal

Tehran Leaves Door Open for Joining Freeze DealTehran Leaves Door Open for Joining Freeze Deal

Members of the Organization of Petroleum Exporting Countries will gather in Algeria this month to discuss an oil production freeze plan to buoy prices, but a decision to join the initiative rests on Iran's Oil Minister Bijan Namdar Zanganeh.

Ali Kardor, the head of state-run National Iranian Oil Company, made the above statement, Mehr News Agency reported on Monday.

"NIOC has no technical or operational restrictions on freezing or scaling back crude production, but the oil minister will make the final decision on the matter," Kardor said.

Zanganeh has reiterated in the past few months that Iran will support any measure to help restore market stability, insisting that the country will not discuss any freeze before reaching its pre-sanctions output of around 4 million barrels a day.

The informal OPEC meeting will be held on the sidelines of the International Energy Forum in Algiers on Sept. 26-28.

Oil traded around $115 a barrel in 2014 but slipped to $26, its lowest level since 2004, before reaching the $40-50 price range.

According to Kardor, Iran is now pumping 3.85 million barrels of crude per day, with output planned to reach 4 million bpd by March 2017.

OPEC and producers outside the 14-member organization, including Russia, pushed for a similar initiative in Doha, Qatar, earlier this year, but negotiations hit the rocks after the kingdom decided to pull out of the deal in a last-minute decision over Iran's refusal to join the talks.

OPEC Secretary-General Mohammed Sanusi Barkindo is scheduled to discuss the freeze plan and oil market developments with Zanganeh in a meeting in Tehran on Tuesday. The official arrived in the Iranian capital on Monday.