Iranian oil major says crude-production freeze now ‘depends on minister’

Exporter is nearing its 4 million bpd target, says executive at National Iranian Oil, adding that now the decision on capping output is 'a political decision'.

Iran is pumping 3.8 million barrels a day, approaching its daily target of 4 million barrels. Vahid Salemi / AP Photo
Powered by automated translation

Iran may soon drop its opposition to an oil-production freeze, with a senior official saying the Opec member’s crude output is closing in on its pre-sanctions level.

Iran is pumping 3.8 million barrels a day, approaching its daily target of 4 million barrels, Mohsen Ghamsari, the director for international affairs at the National Iranian Oil, said Wednesday at a conference in Singapore. He said earlier that Iran could reach its target in two to three months.

“Iran is close to the 4 million target, but the freeze is a political decision,” Mr Ghamsari said, referring to the oil minister Bijan Namdar Zanganeh. “We are now close to previous production levels, so now it depends on the minister’s decision.”

Members of Opec will hold talks with producers from outside the group, including Russia, during a conference in Algiers at the end of the month. Some ministers have called for an agreement to cap output in a joint effort to prop up crude prices amid a global glut. Saudi Arabia and Russia, the world’s top two crude-oil producers, pledged on Monday to cooperate to stabilize global markets, while failing to announce any specific measures to bolster prices.

A previous attempt to freeze output in April fell through when Saudi Arabia insisted that Iran join before its output had recovered to levels seen before world powers tightened sanctions on Iran’s economy.

Follow The National's Business section on Twitter