Iran joined Saudi Arabia in saying it would keep on pumping despite oil prices hovering near a six-year low, giving the strongest signal yet that OPEC wouldn’t act at the group’s meeting in Vienna to curb the global supply glut.
As ministers from OPEC gathered in the Austrian capital, Iran said it would boost shipments after the lifting of international sanctions next year and wouldn’t accept any curbs until it had restored about 1 million barrels a day of output.
Saudi Arabia said it didn’t feel obliged to make cuts to production, which is running close to a record.
“We don’t expect OPEC to do anything,” Iran’s Oil Minister Bijan Namdar Zanganeh said on Friday as the group’s ministers sat down to discuss policy, including how to fit new member Indonesia into its output ceiling.
“It seems that the global market will grow demand” amid oversupply of 1.5 million to 2 million barrels a day, he said.
With oil prices hovering near a six-year low, cash-strapped countries including Venezuela, Ecuador and Algeria are pressuring Saudi Arabia to cut production.
A year ago, Riyadh spearheaded a decision to maintain output and fight for market share rather than cut production to sustain high oil prices.
The move helped to send Brent crude, the global benchmark, down to $42 a barrel from near $100.