Iran, OPEC’s fifth-biggest producer, sees $70-$75 per barrel as a suitable price for crude, Oil Minister Bijan Namdar Zanganeh said, as markets show signs of a partial recovery from last year’s collapse.
“Nobody is satisfied with current prices and instabilities and fluctuations,” Zanganeh said Wednesday at a news conference in Tehran. “I think everyone is very satisfied with $70 to $75,” he told reporters later. Brent crude, an international benchmark, was trading at $66.48 a barrel Thursday at 3:27 p.m. in London.
Iran would start to boost crude output in 10 days if international economic sanctions against it are removed, Zanganeh said. Production would climb to 3.8 million barrels a day within six months and 4 million in less than a year, he said, enough to propel Iran to second-biggest in the Organization of Petroleum Exporting Countries. Iran pumped 2.78 million barrels a day in April, data compiled by Bloomberg show.
More Iranian crude may threaten a price recovery with Brent rising 20 percent this year after tumbling 48 percent in 2014. Iran’s exports have dropped more than 60 percent because of the sanctions imposed over its nuclear program, Zanganeh said. Nuclear talks are to resume May 12 in Vienna with a deadline for an agreement by June 30.
“We have sent significant signals to OPEC” on the plan to raise output, Zanganeh said. “Our main market is Asia. Our priority is Asia. After Asia, it’s Europe. We aren’t by any means worried about seeing oil left on our hands. The name of the game is marketing.”
Brent for June settlement lost as much as $1.38, or 2 percent, to $66.39 a barrel Thursday on the London-based ICE Futures Europe exchange. State-run National Iranian Oil Co. is “facing very difficult conditions” because of “payment problems and the drop in oil,” Zanganeh said.
Iran is determined to continue nuclear talks on a “serious basis,” First Vice President Eshagh Jahangiri said earlier Wednesday in a speech at the opening of an international oil and gas exhibition in Tehran. Under a preliminary accord outlined in April, the U.S. and European Union would lift sanctions if inspectors from the International Atomic Energy Agency verify Iran’s compliance with curbs on its nuclear work.
Iran needs $200 billion of investment in its oil industry, with $70 billion of that for petrochemicals, Zanganeh said.
“Under no circumstances will Iran relinquish its drive to restore its lost share of the oil market,” he said.