Iran hinted that it 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 and that limiting supply is “a political decision.”
The Persian Gulf exporter is pumping 3.8 million barrels a day, approaching its daily target of 4 million barrels, Mohsen Ghamsari, director for international affairs at the National Iranian Oil Co., said Wednesday at a conference in Singapore. He said earlier in the week 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,” Ghamsari said, referring to Oil Minister Bijan Namdar Zanganeh. “We are now close to previous production levels, so now it depends on the minister’s decision.”
Members of the Organization of Petroleum Exporting Countries 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.