Iran backs deeper OPEC cut plan: Zanganeh

TEHRAN, Feb. 08 (MNA) – Iranian Minister of Oil Bijan Namdar Zangeneh said the country could support deeper cuts in crude oil output of the Organization of the Petroleum Exporting Countries (OPEC) if a majority of the members agreed with it.

Speaking to reporters on Saturday, he voiced Iran’s support for any output reduction agreed by a majority of OPEC member states, Shana reported quoting him talking to reporters following a signing ceremony between the National Iranian Oil Company (NIOC) and MAPNA group for developing Parsi and Paranj oilfields.

Zangeneh said if an early ministerial meeting was to be held, an agreement had to be made prior to the meeting rather than discussing an agreement during the meeting.

“If there is no prior agreement, it would be futile to attend a meeting without an agreement because this would help lower the oil prices in the global market,” he argued.

“They may reduce the output as much as they would want to,” he said when asked about Iran’s stance on deepening OPEC output cuts.

Zangeneh further said that the amount of cuts by each producer could not be merely viewed mathematically; “rather, each country has its own reasons for reducing its output which is complicated.”

Asked about coronavirus and its impact on the global demand for oil, he said: “This virus has lowered the demand, but if the Americans intend to act well, they need to create another crisis and impose sanctions on two more countries so that there would be more room for their (US) oil in the market; I believe whatever the US does is partly aimed at ensuring supply-demand balance in the market so that it would not sell its oil cheap.”

Zangeneh said the fever to bring nearer an extraordinary OPEC meeting because of the spread of coronavirus had been reduced, saying there had been talks regarding an early meeting of OPEC ministers ahead of the scheduled meeting in March but the rush to hold the meeting has been reduced so far and the meeting was to be held as scheduled on March 4 and 5 in Vienna, Austria

Asked, given the impact of coronavirus on Iran’s biggest buyer of oil, China, how would this impact Iran’s economy,  he said, “The impact would not be much. But its effect is felt much more deeply by Saudi and Russian economies.”

He, elsewhere, informed that no agreements have been made with Oman for exports of Iranian gas to the country.

On Feb. 3., Zanganeh said “As a result of the outbreak of this virus in China and the subsequent shutdown of some factories, transportation industry, etc., the amount of oil consumption in this country has been affected leading to reduced demand for crude oil,” Shana quoted him as saying.

He said that reduced demand and stabilization of supply had spurred a downward trend in oil prices, adding, "In a conversation I had with OPEC President, I said that if a meeting was to be held prior to a scheduled meeting in March, there has to be preparedness and assurance about reducing production by all the members, but if we are to negotiate at an extraordinary meeting and then make a decision, there is no necessity for holding an early meeting and the 178th Meeting - on the same date (March 4-5) would be held.”

Algeria's Energy Minister Mohamed Arkab is currently chairing OPEC meetings.

Earlier, Russian Energy Minister Alexander Novak and Algerian Energy and Mines Minister and OPEC President Mohammad Arkab had talked about the possibility of holding the 178 OPEC meeting as an extraordinary meeting in February.

OPEC Ministers along with non-OPEC oil producers agreed at the 177th meeting to curb the OPEC+ output by 503,000 b/d (372,000 b/d cuts by OPEC members and 131,000 by non-OPEC producers) besides the previously agreed cuts, and bring OPEC+ production reductions to 1.703 mbd.

MNA/Tasnim2198685/ Shana299569

News Code 155407

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