Iran says it is too early to discuss oil output freeze at Opec meeting

It will be too early for Iran to discuss freezing crude output when the world’s biggest producers meet this month in Algiers, according to an official from the country’s state-oil company. Iran will be ready to decide on capping production once output reaches the level it was before international sanctions were imposed on the country, […]

It will be too early for Iran to discuss freezing crude output when the world’s biggest producers meet this month in Algiers, according to an official from the country’s state-oil company.

Iran will be ready to decide on capping production once output reaches the level it was before international sanctions were imposed on the country, said Mohsen Ghamsari, the director for international affairs at state-run National Iranian Oil Co. That is “slightly” above 4 million barrels a day, which may be achieved by the end of this year or early next year, he said. The country is pumping about 3.8 million barrels daily.

“As soon as we come back to pre-sanction levels, we will be ready to discuss quotas and level of production,” Mr Ghamsari said. “The 4 million bpd production level is not very far from our hands. I hope by the end of 2016 or early next year, we would be able to reach that level.”

Iran’s position limits the options when producers meet to discuss how to address the persistent crude glut that is weighing on prices. While its comments rule out discussing a production freeze, they may still leave the door open for other ways to rebalance the market, such as agreeing on a supply ceiling.

Meanwhile, Iraq has given its fellow Opec members the level of crude production at which it would be prepared to freeze output, according to the top official at the state oil marketing company.

Falah Al Amri, the director general of Iraq’s Oil Marketing Company, said Iraq could support a freeze “for a certain period”, but declined to give further details or say the level at which Iraq was willing to halt its production. The country plans to pump 6 million barrels per day by 2020. It currently produces about 4.4 million barrels daily.

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