Iran says no to output restraint

Iran’s Oil Minister Zanganeh (centre) with Qatar’s Energy Minister Sada (left)

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Iran said on Wednesday it would resist any plan to restrain its oil output as part of a deal between OPEC and leading non-OPEC producers, including Russia.

“Asking Iran to freeze its oil production level is illogical … when Iran was under sanctions, some countries raised their output and they caused the drop in oil prices.” Iran’s OPEC envoy, Mehdi Asali, was quoted as saying by the Shargh daily newspaper.

“How can they expect Iran to cooperate now and pay the price?” he said. “We have repeatedly said that Iran will increase its crude output until reaching the pre-sanctions production level.”

Iranian oil minister Bijan Zanganeh had talks on 17 February in Tehran with his counterparts from Iraq, Qatar and Venezuela. Visiting ministers left without making comment.

The meeting followed a deal reached on Tuesday between Saudi Arabia and Russia, the world’s top two producers and exporters, to freeze production at January levels if other big oil nations agree to join.

OPEC Gulf producers – Qatar, Kuwait and the UAE – as well as Venezuela said they would join the pact.

Iran exported around 2.5 million barrels a day (b/d) of crude before 2012, but sanctions cut that to around 1.1 million b/d. Tehran says it plans to raise supply by around 1 million b/d in the next 6-12 months.