Iran wants pre-sanctions oil market share – minister

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TEHRAN: Iran wants its pre-sanctions share of the crude market, Oil Minister Bijan Zanganeh said on Friday, dampening the prospects of agreement on an output freeze at an OPEC meeting next month.

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“Iran had no role in disrupting the stability of the oil market and after the (lifting of) sanctions we seek to revive our share in the global crude market,” he said, quoted by the ministry’s SHANA news service.

Zanganeh had given a brief boost to world prices on Thursday after announcing he would attend the informal OPEC meeting in Algiers on a possible output freeze with non-cartel producer Russia in late September.

But on Friday he insisted there could be no talk of Iran abandoning its ambitions to restore its market share after last year’s nuclear agreement with world powers led to the lifting of sanctions on its oil exports.

“Iran will cooperate with OPEC on improving prices and the state of the crude market, but we expect our right to restore our lost market share in the market to be considered,” Zanganeh said.

“Iran has made its sacrifices for the market and it’s no longer the time for Iran,” another Iranian website, Mizan Online, quoted him as saying.

Tehran says it has doubled its exports of oil and gas to 2.7 million barrels per day (bpd) since signing the nuclear deal in July last year.

Its total output has risen from 2.7 million bpd to 3.85 million bpd, close to the level before international sanctions were imposed in 2012.

“When the instability occurred in the market, … Iran’s oil exports were less than one million bpd,” Zanganeh said.

“We expect those who disrupted the market’s stability to take the highest responsibility in restoring stability.”
Prices had already dipped in Asian trade earlier on Friday after Saudi Energy Minister Khalid Al-Falih played down the prospects of any major move on output.

“I don’t believe that an intervention of significance is required. I certainly don’t advocate a cut,” he told Bloomberg News.

A previous OPEC attempt to freeze output collapsed in April largely because of Iran’s refusal to join talks.

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