Iran defends strength of oil sector

Sept. 17, 2012 at 6:52 AM
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TEHRAN, Sept. 17 (UPI) -- Iranian oil production figures indicate the country is still near the top among members of the Organization of Petroleum Exporting Countries, an official said.

Mohammad Ali Khatibi, Iran's governor to OPEC, said government figures indicated Iran remained a key player in the oil cartel despite Western sanctions targeting Tehran's energy sector.

"We are responsible toward those figures we present directly to OPEC secretariat, the figures that show Islamic republic of Iran maintain its position as the second biggest oil producer in OPEC," Khatibi told the oil ministry's news service, known by its Persian initials SHANA.

Khatibi didn't offer specific figures. OPEC ranks Iran third in terms of oil reserves among member states.

Tehran last week announced that private companies delivered oil to the foreign market for the first time. An agreement with unspecified entities allows private companies to export about 20 percent of the country's total oil deliveries designated for the international market.

In terms of crude oil prices, Khatibi said prices of around $100 per barrel were nominal. Concerns expressed from major economies like the United States, he added, were likely a result of the presidential campaign season.

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