Zanganeh Pledges to Help Restore Oil Market Stability
Oil Minister Bijan Namdar Zanganeh on Tuesday reiterated Iran's commitment to backing any measure to help revive persistently low crude prices. Zanganeh made the above statement on the sidelines of a meeting with OPEC Secretary-General Mohammed Barkindo in Tehran on Tuesday, the Oil Ministry's news agency Shana reported.
His comments stopped short of confirming Iran would join an output freeze plan that will be discussed in an informal OPEC gathering in Algeria on Sept. 26-28, but the conciliatory tone may boost hopes for an agreement in Algiers this month.
Zanganeh also reflected on crude prices that have lost more than half of their value since 2014.
"Most OPEC members would settle for $50-60 per barrel for the OPEC basket price. $55 per barrels is acceptable," he said. "This will help members of the Organization of Petroleum Exporting Countries to have a decent revenue while keeping outside producers from boosting production."
Barkindo arrived in Tehran on Monday in his first visit to Iran after being appointed as the OPEC chief at the beginning of August. He earlier discussed oil market developments with Hossein Kazempour Ardebili, Iran's OPEC envoy.
"Mr. Barkindo was briefed on Iran's stance on the Algiers meeting and we were informed of his negotiations with some of the producers," Zanganeh said without giving details.
OPEC and non-OPEC states, including Russia, gathered in Doha, Qatar, earlier this year to revive floundering oil prices by capping production. But negotiations ended in acrimony after Saudi Arabia refused to join the plan due to Iran's absence.
Iran has long argued that it cannot cap production while its exports are recovering from years of international sanctions, which were only lifted in January. Its production has risen since April and it is now within touching distance of the approximately 4 million barrels a day that most analysts think it is targeting in the short run.
Russian President Vladimir Putin on Monday said Iran should be given leeway, given its lost exports under sanctions. However, Saudi Arabia’s Energy Minister Khalid al-Falih claimed Iran’s production was already high enough.