Iran Will Send OPEC Governor, Not Oil Minister, to Doha Talks

  • Hossein Kazempour Ardebili to stand in for Zanganeh at meeting
  • Minister's absence makes show of unity easier: Energy Aspects

Three Things You Need to Know About the Doha Summit

Iran ended weeks of speculation by confirming it will send a representative, though not its oil minister, to talks between crude producers in Doha this weekend.

Hossein Kazempour Ardebili, Iran’s liaison to the Organization of Petroleum Exporting Countries, will attend the meeting on April 17 in the place of Oil Minister Bijan Zanganeh, according to Akbar Nematollahi, Director of Public Affairs at the oil ministry. At least 17 other producers will gather in the Qatari capital to discuss an accord on limiting oil production, aimed at tackling the global glut. The ministry had said as recently as April 13 that Zanganeh was undecided about going.

Iran, which is reviving oil exports after years of international sanctions were lifted in January, has ruled out joining the accord and its refusal is seen by analysts as the agreement’s biggest flaw. Zanganeh has said that Iran will reject any limits on its output before reaching pre-sanctions levels, and dismissed the notion of joining the freeze as “ridiculous.” Saudi Arabia has said its compliance depends on Iran joining in.

Because of Iran’s position, the absence of its most senior official will actually help the other nations present a unified position on April 17, according to London-based consultants Energy Aspects Ltd.

“We all know Iran is not going to join in with the freeze,” Amrita Sen, chief oil analyst at Energy Aspects, said in a Bloomberg Television interview. “If Zanganeh came to the meeting, he would probably say we’re not going to freeze, and that would put a dampener on sentiment. It’s a ploy to make sure the market doesn’t sell off.”

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