Iran 'prepared for any measure' for oil market stability

Total crude oil production from the Islamic republic is more or less steady for the year, holding the No. 3 spot among OPEC producers.
By Daniel J. Graeber Follow @dan_graeber Contact the Author   |  Sept. 15, 2017 at 9:23 AM
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Sept. 15 (UPI) -- Speaking alongside his Venezuelan counterpart, Iran's oil minister said there was a general readiness for multilateral efforts geared toward market stability.

A measure implemented by the Organization of Petroleum Exporting Countries in January to draw down the surplus on the five-year average for global crude oil prices with coordinated production declines is credited with supporting a floor under Brent crude oil prices at $50 per barrel.

Two recent hurricanes that hit the southern United States are supporting stronger oil prices because of the subsequent demand strains brought by the impacts on the energy sector. A weaker dollar is another contributing factor to the price of oil, which for Brent, is close to a 2017 high at about $55.60 early Friday.

Iranian Energy Minister Bijan Zangeneh hosted his Venezuelan counterpart, Eulogio Del Pino, in his office Wednesday to discuss steps to stabilize the global oil markets.

"During this meeting, we discussed oil market stability and attraction of cooperation of non-OPEC producers in order to ensure further stability in the market," Zangeneh was quoted by the ministry's news website SHANA as saying. "We are prepared for any measure aimed at ensuring oil market stability."

His comments echo sentiments expressed by Saudi Arabia in the middle of August. Officials from Riyadh said in a joint statement with Iraq it was keeping its "whatever it takes" stance on the effort to trim production until the markets reach a target level that would indicate balance.

The International Energy Agency in its latest monthly market report said overall production levels from major producers was on the decline and the level of stocks for members of the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development was only slightly above the five-year average. Depending on how fast U.S. markets recover from Hurricanes Harvey and Irma, the IEA said OECD stocks could hit, or drop below, the five-year average.

Iran wants to regain a market share lost to sanctions tied to its former nuclear ambitions. Venezuela, meanwhile, has struggled with violent political turmoil.

Overall, however, Zangeneh said of the agreement, "the level of compliance will increase in the future."

Iranian crude oil production has been stable for most of the year at around 3.8 million barrels per day, putting it in the No. 3 spot among OPEC producers. Despite the turmoil, Venezuelan production of 1.9 million bpd for August was down only 4 percent from the first quarter.

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