Bijan Namdar Zangeneh, Iran’s oil minister, speaks in Vienna, Austria, on Friday, June 5, 2015. Lisi Niesner / Bloomberg
Bijan Namdar Zangeneh, Iran’s oil minister, speaks in Vienna, Austria, on Friday, June 5, 2015. Lisi Niesner / Bloomberg

Iran oil minister denies heavy oil discounting as market share battle looms

Iran’s oil minister yesterday denied his country is offering steep discounts to boost exports amid an intensifying battle for Asian market share.

As Iran prepares for the lifting of international sanctions related to its nuclear programme next year, Bijan Namdar Zangeneh, the oil minister, told the government’s Islamic Republic News Agency (Irna) that the country would offer only “regular and customary” discounts to prospective customers.

He was responding to reports that Iran was discussing deep discounts with prospective buyers as it plans to increase exports from 1 million barrels per day – the level at which they have been capped since sanctions were put in place in 2011.

Reuters last week quoted unnamed Indian refinery buyers saying that the National Iranian Oil Company (NIOC) international affairs director, S M Ghamsari, had been canvassing on a recent visit for their input about what prices would be competitive. This “rare move” was in contrast to the usual NIOC practice of offering its own terms to buyers on a take-it-or-leave-it basis, according to the report.

Iran reached a deal with the US and other major powers this year that would lift sanctions in return for it severely limiting its nuclear programme.

Early this month, the International Atomic Energy Agency’s director general, Yukiya Amano, said his agency could verify Iran’s compliance with the terms of the deal – which would trigger a lifting of sanctions – as early as the end of next month.

Mr Zangeneh on Sunday reiterated Iran’s intention to add 500,000 bpd to production as soon as sanctions are lifted and another 500,000 barrels per day (bpd) “after a short while”, according to Irna.

Despite Iran’s ambitious claims, it is not clear how fast or by how much the country could ramp up its production and there is a wide range of estimates from analysts.

With a cap of 1 million bpd on exports, Iran’s production has ranged between 2.5 million bpd and 2.8 million bdp in recent years, below pre-sanctions levels of about 4.5 million bpd.

“Iran has set itself a target of 4 million bpd by the end of 2016 and at least 5.7 million bpd by 2018, but this looks overly ambitious given the sector’s lack of technical attention over recent years,” said Elif Kutsal at McKinsey Energy Insights. “We expect Iran to reach the four million bpd output target with a delay, most likely in 2017-2018.”

Still, the oil market is expected to remain oversupplied through next year and this will be exacerbated unless Iran’s fellow Opec members – particularly Saudi Arabia – can agree to make room for its extra output.

Saudi Arabia has shown little sign of relenting on the policy it has been pursuing for more than a year of pumping at record levels to capture market share and force others to make cuts to bring the market into balance. At the start of this month, for example, it increased its own price discounts for US and Asian oil buyers just ahead of the biannual Opec meeting.

Others in the region typically follow Saudi Arabia’s lead on price and the UAE is particularly affected by Asian discounting as it sells almost all of its oil exports there.

Iran’s rhetoric in response to Saudi Arabia’s policy has been consistently defiant.

“Iran will win back its global market quota,” Rokneddin Javadi, NIOC’s chief executive, told Iran’s Shana (Petroenergy Information Network) on Saturday. “Lack of cooperation by Opec members can lead to further decline in global oil prices.” Shana reported that Iranian heavy crude sold in the week to December 18 at below US$30 a barrel for the first time in 20 years.


Thu Mar 15 – West Indies v Afghanistan, UAE v Scotland
Fri Mar 16 – Ireland v Zimbabwe
Sun Mar 18 – Ireland v Scotland
Mon Mar 19 – West Indies v Zimbabwe
Tue Mar 20 – UAE v Afghanistan
Wed Mar 21 – West Indies v Scotland
Thu Mar 22 – UAE v Zimbabwe
Fri Mar 23 – Ireland v Afghanistan

The top two teams qualify for the World Cup

Classification matches 
The top-placed side out of Papua New Guinea, Hong Kong or Nepal will be granted one-day international status. UAE and Scotland have already won ODI status, having qualified for the Super Six.

Thu Mar 15 – Netherlands v Hong Kong, PNG v Nepal
Sat Mar 17 – 7th-8th place playoff, 9th-10th place play-off

UAE's final round of matches
  • Sep 1, 2016 Beat Japan 2-1 (away)
  • Sep 6, 2016 Lost to Australia 1-0 (home)
  • Oct 6, 2016 Beat Thailand 3-1 (home)
  • Oct 11, 2016 Lost to Saudi Arabia 3-0 (away)
  • Nov 15, 2016 Beat Iraq 2-0 (home)
  • Mar 23, 2017 Lost to Japan 2-0 (home)
  • Mar 28, 2017 Lost to Australia 2-0 (away)
  • June 13, 2017 Drew 1-1 with Thailand (away)
  • Aug 29, 2017 v Saudi Arabia (home)
  • Sep 5, 2017 v Iraq (away)

England v South Africa

Yokohama International Stadium, Tokyo

Saturday, kick-off 1pm (UAE)


Goalkeepers: Thibaut Courtois, Simon Mignolet, Koen Casteels

Defenders: Jan Vertonghen, Toby Alderweireld, Leander Dendoncker, Zeno Debast, Arthur Theate, Wout Faes

Midfielders: Hans Vanaken, Axel Witsel, Youri Tielemans, Amadou Onana, Kevin De Bruyne, Yannick Carrasco, Thorgan Hazard, Timothy Castagne, Thomas Meunier

Forwards: Romelu Lukaku, Michy Batshuayi, Loïs Openda, Charles De Ketelaere, Eden Hazard, Jeremy Doku, Dries Mertens, Leandro Trossard


Inter Milan v Juventus
Saturday, 10.45pm (UAE)
Watch the match on BeIN Sports

The Uefa Awards winners

Uefa Men's Player of the Year: Virgil van Dijk (Liverpool)

Uefa Women's Player of the Year: Lucy Bronze (Lyon)

Best players of the 2018/19 Uefa Champions League

Goalkeeper: Alisson (Liverpool)

Defender: Virgil van Dijk (Liverpool)

Midfielder: Frenkie de Jong (Ajax)

Forward: Lionel Messi (Barcelona)

Uefa President's Award: Eric Cantona

Arctic Monkeys

Tranquillity Base Hotel + Casino (Domino) 



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Power: 181hp

Torque: 230Nm

Transmission: 6-speed automatic

Starting price: Dh79,000

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Company name: Revibe
Started: 2022
Founders: Hamza Iraqui and Abdessamad Ben Zakour
Based: UAE
Industry: Refurbished electronics
Funds raised so far: $10m
Investors: Flat6Labs, Resonance and various others

Zodi & Tehu: Princes Of The Desert

Director: Eric Barbier

Starring: Youssef Hajdi, Nadia Benzakour, Yasser Drief

Rating: 4/5


5pm: Maiden (PA) Dh80,000 (Turf) 1,000mm, Winners: Mumayaza, Fabrice Veron (jockey), Eric Lemartinel (trainer)

5.30pm: Wathba Stallions Cup Handicap (PA) Dh70,000 (T) 2,200m, Winners: Sharkh, Pat Cosgrave, Helal Al Alawi

6pm: The President’s Cup Prep - Conditions (PA) Dh100,000 (T) 2,200m, Winner: Somoud, Richard Mullen, Jean de Roualle

6.30pm: Handicap (PA) Dh90,000 (T) 1,600m, Winner: Harrab, Ryan Curatolo, Jean de Roualle

7pm: Abu Dhabi Equestrian Gold Cup - Prestige (PA) Dh125,000 (T) 1,600m, Winner: Hameem, Adrie de Vries, Abdallah Al Hammadi

7.30pm: Al Ruwais – Group 3 (PA) Dh300,000 (T) 1,200m, Winner: AF Alwajel, Tadhg O’Shea, Ernst Oertel

8pm: Maiden (TB) Dh80,000 (T) 1,400m, Winner: Nibras Passion, Bernardo Pinheiro, Ismail Mohammed

Ziina users can donate to relief efforts in Beirut

Ziina users will be able to use the app to help relief efforts in Beirut, which has been left reeling after an August blast caused an estimated $15 billion in damage and left thousands homeless. Ziina has partnered with the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees to raise money for the Lebanese capital, co-founder Faisal Toukan says. “As of October 1, the UNHCR has the first certified badge on Ziina and is automatically part of user's top friends' list during this campaign. Users can now donate any amount to the Beirut relief with two clicks. The money raised will go towards rebuilding houses for the families that were impacted by the explosion.”

UAE currency: the story behind the money in your pockets

Producer: Maddock Films, Jio Movies
Director: Amar Kaushik
Cast: Rajkummar Rao, Shraddha Kapoor, Pankaj Tripathi, Aparshakti Khurana, Abhishek Banerjee
Rating: 3.5

Match info

Karnataka Tuskers 110-3

J Charles 35, M Pretorius 1-19, Z Khan 0-16

Deccan Gladiators 111-5 in 8.3 overs

K Pollard 45*, S Zadran 2-18

Gulf Under 19s final

Dubai College A 50-12 Dubai College B


Name: Kinetic 7
Started: 2018
Founder: Rick Parish
Based: Abu Dhabi, UAE
Industry: Clean cooking
Funding: $10 million
Investors: Self-funded

The specs

Engine: 3.0-litre 6-cyl turbo

Power: 374hp at 5,500-6,500rpm

Torque: 500Nm from 1,900-5,000rpm

Transmission: 8-speed auto

Fuel consumption: 8.5L/100km

Price: from Dh285,000

On sale: from January 2022

Herc's Adventures

Developer: Big Ape Productions
Publisher: LucasArts
Console: PlayStation 1 & 5, Sega Saturn
Rating: 4/5


Director: Lulu Wang

Stars: Nicole Kidman, Sarayu Blue, Ji-young Yoo, Brian Tee, Jack Huston

Rating: 4/5


Edinburgh: November 4 (unchanged)

Bahrain: November 15 (from September 15); second daily service from January 1

Kuwait: November 15 (from September 16)

Mumbai: January 1 (from October 27)

Ahmedabad: January 1 (from October 27)

Colombo: January 2 (from January 1)

Muscat: March 1 (from December 1)

Lyon: March 1 (from December 1)

Bologna: March 1 (from December 1)

Source: Emirates


Engine: 4.4-litre V8

Transmission: Automatic

Power: 530bhp 

Torque: 750Nm 

Price: Dh535,000

On sale: Now

Company profile

Name: JustClean

Based: Dubai with offices in other GCC countries

Launch year: 2016

Number of employees: 160+ with 21 nationalities in eight cities

online laundry and cleaning services

Funding: $30m from Kuwait-based Faith Capital Holding and Gulf Investment Corporation


Director: Vikas Bahl
Starring: Ajay Devgn, R. Madhavan, Jyothika, Janaki Bodiwala
Rating: 3/5

Living in...

This article is part of a guide on where to live in the UAE. Our reporters will profile some of the country’s most desirable districts, provide an estimate of rental prices and introduce you to some of the residents who call each area home.


Developer: 11 Bit Studios
Publisher: Odd Meter
Console: PlayStation 5, PC and Xbox series X/S
Rating: 4/5


Name: Xpanceo

Started: 2018

Founders: Roman Axelrod, Valentyn Volkov

Based: Dubai, UAE

Industry: Smart contact lenses, augmented/virtual reality

Funding: $40 million

Investor: Opportunity Venture (Asia)