Tehran Committed to Stabilizing Crude Market

Tehran Committed to Stabilizing Crude MarketTehran Committed to Stabilizing Crude Market

Iran is committed to building a consensus on stabilizing the oil market between OPEC and non-member countries, the group’s new Secretary-General Mohammed Barkindo said.

Iran’s Oil Minister Bijan Namdar Zanganeh and President Hassan Rouhani “assured me that Iran will do everything possible in joining hands with members within the OPEC group as well as outside OPEC,” Barkindo said in a Bloomberg Television interview in Rome.

“I am quite satisfied with the assurances” given during talks this month in Tehran, he said.

The Organization of Petroleum Exporting Countries will hold informal discussions on Sept. 26-28 in Algiers. Barkindo has damped expectations of an agreement to freeze production, saying the meeting is just a consultation.

Yet oil prices rose last month on speculation that members may revive such a proposal after a similar deal failed in April amid Iran’s refusal to participate.

OPEC ministers are working “very hard” to get an informal agreement on steadying the market ahead of the Algiers talks, which will also be attended by non-member Russia, Barkindo said.

Iran has been ramping up oil production to restore output lost during years of international sanctions. Earlier this month, Mohsen Ghamsari, director for international affairs at state-run National Iranian Oil Company, said the Algiers meeting will be too soon for Iran to discuss freezing production.

The talks in the North African city will be “crucial,” Barkindo said in Rome, where he was attending the Future of Energy Conference organized by European House-Ambrosetti and Eni SpA. “Specific policy-decision tools will have to be addressed and agreed upon after a thorough review, analysis and comprehension of this very dynamic and complex energy landscape.”

------- More Serious Talks

OPEC may turn its planned informal meeting in Algiers next week into a formal session as it seeks ways with other producers to cut crude supplies by 1 million barrels a day to re-balance markets and stabilize prices, Algerian Energy Minister Noureddine Bouterfa said.

“Depending on discussions until then or even during the informal session, OPEC ministers, since all will be present, can transform the gathering into an extraordinary meeting,” he said on Wednesday.

OPEC’s 14 members are pumping more than 33 million barrels a day, and inventories will grow even more if no action is taken, Bouterfa said.

“The question is at what level we would freeze or reduce output -- we need to find the good compromise in order not to destabilize the market,” Bouterfa said. “It’s necessary at least to reduce by 1 million barrels a day to re-balance the market. Will we get there? We are working for that.”