Iran Says It Hasn’t Decided on Attending OPEC Talks in Algiers

Morse: The Oil Market Is Moving Into Balance
  • Minister might not decide until day before meeting: spokesman
  • Iran said to have confirmed attendance in letter to OPEC

Iran says it still hasn’t decided whether it will attend informal OPEC talks in Algiers next month, two weeks after the group announced plans to meet.

Iran might delay making a decision until the day before the gathering, a spokesman for the country’s Oil Ministry said, asking not to be identified. Two OPEC delegates, who also asked not to be identified discussing a private matter, said Iran has written to fellow members confirming it will participate.

The talks, due to take place during an industry conference on Sept. 26 to 28, have fanned speculation the Organization of Petroleum Exporting Countries could revive an accord to freeze production with non-members such as Russia. A similar initiative collapsed in April after Saudi Arabia insisted on the participation of Iran, which refused as it was restoring output previously curbed by sanctions.

Iran’s position hasn’t changed since the April talks, and while the country supports action to stabilize the market, it won’t participate in a freeze before regaining its pre-sanctions share of OPEC output, a delegate for the organization said last week. Former OPEC president Chakib Khelil said earlier this month that Iran’s efforts to ramp up production this year might make it more receptive to an output cap.

Iranian Oil Minister Bijan Namdar Zanganeh weighed up whether to attend the previous oil-freeze talks in Doha in mid-April, ultimately deciding not to.

OPEC’s new secretary-general, Mohammed Barkindo, will visit Iran and Qatar early next month, according to a person familiar with the matter who asked not to be identified. Venezuelan Energy Minister Eulogio Del Pino, who helped organize the failed Doha negotiations, also has been touring oil-producing nations as he seeks an accord to stabilize the market.

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