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Iran optimistic ahead of OPEC meeting


Bijan Zanganeh

Bijan Zanganeh

Iran is optimistic that OPEC can reach an agreement to cut production and improve prices, Oil Minister Bijan Zanganeh said on Saturday after meeting the cartel’s chief Mohammad Sanusi Barkindo.

“There is a high possibility of OPEC’s petroleum and energy ministers reaching an agreement at the November meeting,” Zanganeh said, quoted by the ministry’s Shana news website.

“Member and non-member countries are trying to reach a comprehensive agreement at the summit, and the information Secretary General Barkindo gave me today is promising.

“I think we will have a better situation in the future,” he added.

In September, the 14 members of the Organization of the Petroleum Exporting Countries agreed at an informal Algiers meeting to cut output, hoping to boost prices that have been severely depressed since 2014.

Details of the deal, supposed to bring in non-OPEC producers including Russia, are expected to be worked out at a formal OPEC meeting in Vienna on November 30.

Iran, which has the world’s fourth largest oil reserves, has refused to join the accord until it has restored market share following the lifting of international sanctions in January.

Tehran has “already expressed its views” on the issue of a production cap and “insists on its previous position”, Zanganeh said on Saturday.

Along with Libya and Nigeria, Iran was granted exemption from the planned cuts, so long as it keeps production to levels “that make sense”.

Asked about fair prices that would benefit both the producer and consumer, Zanganeh said: “OPEC members have set a target price of $55 to $65” per barrel.

Shana quoted Barkindo as saying his trip to Tehran had been to seek “more cooperation from Iran in the Vienna (meeting), so that we can implement the Algiers agreement”.

He said Zanganeh had assured him Iran “would spare no effort” in helping to reach a consensus.

Tehran was exporting 2.44 million barrels per day in late October, after years of international sanctions were lifted in January following a nuclear deal with world powers in 2015.

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