Iranian Oil Minister Bijan Zangeneh said he's received no request for an extraordinary meeting for members of OPEC. His Nigerian counterpart said "the time has come" for such a move. Photo courtesy of Hasan Hosseini /SHANA
TEHRAN, Jan. 13 (UPI) -- Iran has received no formal request for an extraordinary meeting for members of the Organization of Petroleum Exporting Countries, its oil minister said.
Nigerian Oil Minister and current OPEC President Emmanuel Kachikwu said in a Tuesday interview with CNN that "the time has come" to hold an extraordinary meeting with representatives from the 12 other member states.
Crude oil prices are down more than 70 percent from mid-2014 levels above $100 per barrel. The price for Brent crude oil, the global benchmark, is down 23 percent from the last regular meeting for OPEC on Dec. 4.
Iranian Oil Minister Bijan Zangeneh said consensus was needed from all 13 members to convene for an emergency meeting.
"Iran has not received any request in this regard yet," he was quoted by the Oil Ministry's news website SHANA as saying.
Member states with less robust production levels than countries like Saudi Arabia have in the past pushed for a stronger stance in response to slumping oil prices.
In November, Iranian President Hassan Rouhani told visiting officials from Venezuela it was incumbent upon producers to improve the situation in the global energy market.
The Central Bank of Venezuela, for its part, blamed the collapse in oil prices for a drop in gross domestic product. Speaking from Tehran, Venezuelan Oil Minister Eulogio Del Pino said oil could drop below $30 per barrel without some coordinated action from OPEC members.
The December meeting for OPEC was divisive, with Iran calling for rival members to make room for its imminent return to the global market as sanctions pressures ease. Saudi Arabia, the de facto leader of OPEC, said it needed to maintain a robust production policy to meeting expected demand from its customers in Asia.
Crude oil prices are lower in part because markets are tilted heavily toward the supply side. Nigeria's oil minister said last month market balance was "of crucial importance." Demand for OPEC crude oil, he said, is expected to increase by 1.2 million barrels per day, while output from non-member states, namely the United States, is expected to decline.