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Iran, Indonesia discuss oil markets

Indonesia wants to return to OPEC, while Iran pines for larger production role.

By Daniel J. Graeber
Iranian Oil Minister Bijan Zanganeh welcomes meets with delegates from Indonesia, which aims for return to OPEC. File photo by Maryam Rahmanian/UPI | <a href="/News_Photos/lp/71fc6f9a6069fbb8a813bb315ec0690e/" target="_blank">License Photo</a>
Iranian Oil Minister Bijan Zanganeh welcomes meets with delegates from Indonesia, which aims for return to OPEC. File photo by Maryam Rahmanian/UPI | License Photo

TEHRAN, Oct. 13 (UPI) -- Indonesia expects to encourage a spirit of investment cooperation in Asia and the Middle East during a trade visit to Iran, the country's energy minister said.

Indonesia Energy Minister Sudirman Said paid a visit to Iran, saying trade should focus not only on the energy sector but also broader economic ties. Before arriving in Tehran, the minister said he would use the opportunity to discuss "any investment information" given to Middle East leaders, including those governing members of the Organization of Petroleum Exporting Countries.

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Indonesia in September submitted a request to reactivate its membership in OPEC, which it left in 2009 because it was no longer a net exporter. OPEC in a September statement said its members would "welcome [Indonesia's] return."

For Iran, the government expects sanctions relief could eventually make it the second-largest producer in OPEC, after Saudi Arabia. Iranian Oil Minister Bijan Zangeneh said net oil production could increase by more than 1.5 million barrels per day, bringing total production for the Islamic republic to just over 4 million bpd by the end of next year.

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Zangeneh said there are many countries and investors looking to cooperate with Iran once sanctions pressures ease.

"Indonesia shall not be the last among the countries queuing up to enter Iran," he said.

OPEC in its latest monthly market report said member states were producing more oil even though an over-supplied market is keeping crude oil prices lower. A potential increase from Iran, and eventually Indonesia, could add further negative pressure to crude oil prices.

Zangeneh said Iran's economy has been able to navigate through sanctions and low oil prices therefore are not a major concern. The oil ministry's website, SHANA, was critical of OPEC members for not honoring a production ceiling. Without one, SHANA notes crude oil prices will continue to decline.

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