Iran says not ready for oil output freeze
September 27 2016 01:51 PM
Iranian oil minister Bijan Zanganeh
Iranian oil minister Bijan Zanganeh

AFP/Algiers

Iran is not ready to agree to an oil output freeze in Algiers, its Oil Minister Bijan Zanganeh said Tuesday on the eve of an informal OPEC meeting in Algeria's capital.

‘It's not in our agenda to reach an agreement in two days. We need time for more consultation,’ he told reporters on the sidelines of an energy conference.

Zanganeh said an agreement on a freeze to stabilise oil prices could be struck at the November 30 meeting in Vienna of the Organization of Petroleum Exporting Countries.

Cartel members are to meet with key non-OPEC producer Russia on the sidelines of the International Energy Forum in the Algerian capital.

They are expected to discuss ways to strengthen prices that have been depressed since 2014 amid a stubborn supply glut.

With expectations of an agreement low, according to industry analysts, oil prices edged lower Tuesday in Asia and in London.

Most oil states have been supportive of a cap, but pre-forum talks between OPEC kingpin Saudi Arabia and Iran have been less productive.

Iran also refused at a meeting in April to take part in talks on a production cap after the country had just emerged from years of Western-imposed sanctions over its nuclear programme.

The talks in Algiers will be ‘a consultative, informal meeting to exchange views,’ said Zanganeh.

The minister pointed out Iran was investing to increase its output to pre-sanctions levels.

‘Very soon this production will be operated and we will increase our production’ to 4 million barrels per day (bpd), he said, from the current level estimated at between 3.6 million and 3.8 million bpd, he said.

Iraq's Oil Minister Jabbar al-Luaybi, also attending the meetings in Algiers, said he expected ‘positive results’ from the talks aimed at taking steps to increase prices.

‘We support all efforts to stabilise prices,’ he said.

The United Arab Emirates has said it supports a deal to freeze output if other nations agree but that production cuts were not up for discussion in Algiers, according to Bloomberg News.

Host country Algeria said Sunday that the world's top oil producers ‘must take a decision’ to stabilise prices.

Failure to agree on a production freeze could push prices even lower, Energy Minister Noureddine Boutarfa said.

‘Every state in the organisation agrees on the need to stabilise prices, it just remains for us to find a format that pleases everyone,’ he said.



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