Tehran Encourages OPEC States to Join Freeze Plan

Tehran Encourages OPEC States to Join Freeze PlanTehran Encourages OPEC States to Join Freeze Plan

A deputy oil minister said on Monday that Tehran was ready to encourage other OPEC members to join a plan to freeze output to bring stability to the volatile oil market.

"Iran is ready to help OPEC to balance the oil market ... We believe oil at $55-60 a barrel is a fair price to bring stability to the market," Amirhossein Zamaninia, deputy oil minister for international affairs, was quoted as saying by IRNA, Reuters reported.

The official made the remarks in line with calls from Oil Minister Bijan Namdar Zanganeh who urged non-OPEC producers last week to join an OPEC-led initiative to axe production and boost prices which have more than halved from their peak levels two years ago.

“Members of the Organization of Petroleum Producing Countries agreed on a framework for output cuts (last month) and outside producers should be cooperative,” Zanganeh said on Sunday. Venezuelan President Nicolas Maduro was in Tehran at the weekend as the first stop in a tour of OPEC nations to rally support for an OPEC-led plan.

OPEC countries reached a consensus last month to slash their collective output to around 32.5 million barrels per day from more than 33 million bpd but did not set individual quotas. The group is expected to finalize the agreement in its regular meeting next month.

However, the initiative is facing a fresh roadblocks with Iraq, OPEC's second-largest producer, which has made clear its intention to raise crude production to near record levels next year. In a news conference on Sunday, Oil Minister Jabber al-Luaibi said that Iraq should be exempted from cutting production because it is embroiled in a war with Islamic State militants.

The country currently produces more than 4.7 million barrels a day it pumped in September, and Iraq’s output could rise higher still as the government urges international companies to boost production at its fields.


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