Iran, Iraq Oil Ministers Said to Skirt Energy Talks With Saudisby and
Iraq’s oil minister will bypass energy talks this week in Qatar, where rival producer Saudi Arabia plans to hold talks with Russia on possible collective action to limit production. His Iranian counterpart is also said to be giving the meeting a miss.
Iraq and Iran both want exemptions from any OPEC cuts in output, putting pressure on Saudi Arabia, the producer group’s biggest member, to bear the brunt of a possible reduction. The Organization of Petroleum Exporting Countries has yet to find a way to finalize a preliminary deal it reached in September to curtail supply, ending a two-year policy of pumping without limits.
Saudi Arabian Energy Minister Khalid Al-Falih is leading the efforts to rein in global production to support prices. He’ll join several fellow OPEC members in Doha this week for informal consultations with Russia, the biggest energy supplier outside the group. They plan talks on the sidelines of the Gas Exporting Countries Forum.
Iraqi Oil Minister Jabbar Al-Luaibi won’t be traveling to Doha this week, the ministry’s spokesman, Asim Jihad, said Wednesday by phone. Hamed Al-Zobaie, Iraq’s deputy minister for natural gas affairs, will represent the country instead, Jihad said.
Iranian Oil Minister Bijan Namdar Zanganeh won’t be going to the Qatari capital, according to an Iranian oil official who asked not to be identified because he’s not authorized to speak to the media. Iran will be represented by OPEC governor Hossein Kazempour Ardebili and the country’s national representative at OPEC, Behrooz Baikalizadeh, the official said.
OPEC signaled last month that Iran, Nigeria and Libya would be spared from having to make any cuts, due to sanctions and security issues that have curtailed their crude output. Iraq wants similar treatment, citing the burden of its war with Islamic State militants.