Iran on Oil Freeze: ‘Leave Us Alone’ Until Production Higher

  • Oil minister will talk after output at 4 million barrels a day
  • Zanganeh to meet With Russia's oil minister on Monday

Oil Declines as Iran Plans to Boost Output

Iran plans to boost crude output to 4 million barrels a day, the highest level since 2008, before it will consider joining other suppliers in seeking ways to rebalance the global oil market.

“They should leave us alone” until then, Oil Minister Bijan Zanganeh said, according to the Iranian Students News Agency. “After that we will work with them.” The last time production exceeded 4 million barrels a day was in August 2008, and Iran’s output in February was 3 million barrels a day, according to data compiled by Bloomberg.

Saudi Arabia, Russia, Venezuela and Qatar proposed an accord to freeze oil output and tackle a global surplus. Oil extended gains after their initial meeting on Feb. 16, and has climbed more than 40 percent since the 12-year low in January. Oil at $70 a barrel is “suitable,” ISNA cited Zanganeh saying.

Iran is seeking to boost output by 1 million barrels a day by June, Seda Weekly reported, citing an interview with Amir Hossein Zamaninia, Iran’s deputy oil minister for commerce and international affairs. “Iran maintains its right to increase its oil production until it reaches its pre-sanctions level,” he said, according to the report. Within a year, the oil market should be “relatively balanced,” Zamaninia told Seda.

Brent crude fell as much as 0.9 percent on Monday to $39.51 a barrel.

Zanganeh will meet with Russian Energy Minister Alexander Novak on Monday, according to ISNA, which didn’t specify the topics of discussion. Novak is leading a Russian business delegation to Tehran and will also talk about telecommunications, state-run Mehr news agency reported, without saying where it got the information.

The Organization of Petroleum Exporting Countries and non-members have intermittently held discussions since November 2014, when OPEC first signaled it was unwilling to cut production on it own to support prices. Saudi Arabia, Venezuela, Russia and Mexico assembled in Vienna that month without reaching any deal. A tour of oil capitals from Moscow to Riyadh last month by Venezuelan Energy Minister Eulogio Del Pino failed to produce an accord.

Iran’s oil exports will rise to 2 million barrels a day in the month ending March 20, the end of the Iranian year, from 1.75 million barrels a day a month earlier, Zanganeh said, according to ISNA.

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