Iran Oil Minister Sees No Change in OPEC Output Policy

Iranian Oil Minister Bijan Zanganeh (pictured in July) said Monday “The atmosphere is not [right] for making changes.” ENLARGE
Iranian Oil Minister Bijan Zanganeh (pictured in July) said Monday “The atmosphere is not [right] for making changes.” Photo: Associated Press

TEHRAN—Iran doesn’t expect OPEC to change its current output policies and wants prices back above $ 70 a barrel, the country’s oil minister said Monday.

Speaking to reporters on the side of a Tehran oil conference, Bijan Zanganeh said he expects “no change“ when the Organization of the Petroleum Exporting Countries meets on Dec. 4 in Vienna. “The atmosphere is not [right] for making changes.”

Some delegates have previously said the group may amend its current production ceiling of 30 million barrels a day but only to reflect Indonesia’s return into the cartel, and there would be no changes for any other members.

The status quo has been led by a Saudi decision to maintain output with the aim of defending market share over price.

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However, Mr. Zanganeh said OPEC members were “unhappy” with current oil prices of about $ 50 a barrel and would like a range of “more than $ 70” a barrel to $ 80 a barrel. He said “no one is thinking about $ 100” a barrel—the oil-price level between 2011 and last year’s collapse.

Mr. Zanganeh also said his own country would boost production by 500,000 barrels a day when the nuclear deal with world powers adopted Sunday is implemented—a move he sees in two months.

“We do not ask [OPEC’s] permission to increase our production,” he said.

The minister would only consider joining any OPEC cuts when it reaches its optimum production level.

Inaugurating the conference, Mr. Zanganeh also warned foreign investors about corruption—a problem that rocked the country’s oil industry during a previous opening of Iran’s economy in the 1990s.

“We hate the parasites who want to suck up blood of Iranians,” he told an audience of Iranian and foreign oil officials. “We fight corruption. We warn foreign companies to avoid these parasites.”

Write to Benoît Faucon at [email protected] Markets

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