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Iran Must Avoid Ceding Oil Market to Saudi Arabia, Shargh Says

July 7 (Bloomberg) -- Iran must not lose its share of the crude market and should be wary of Saudi Arabia’s attempts to sell more of its oil to Asian refineries, Shargh reported, citing Iran’s OPEC Governor Mohammad Ali Khatibi.

Iran’s failure to boost output capacity to 5 million barrels a day by the end of 2010 has compromised its influence in the oil market, Khatibi said in an interview with the Tehran-based newspaper. The nation’s official capacity is 4 million barrels a day.

Saudi Arabia “has reached out” to many potential buyers of crude, particularly in Asia, he said. “It would have been good for Iran to anticipate Saudi Arabia’s game and not at any cost allow for this country and its OPEC and non-OPEC allies to set the rules of the game,” he said in the article today. Saudi Arabia and Iran are the first- and second-biggest producers in the Organization of Petroleum Exporting Countries.

To contact the reporter on this story: Ladane Nasseri in Tehran at lnasseri@bloomberg.net.

To contact the editor responsible for this story: Andrew J. Barden at barden@bloomberg.net

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