‘No change in crude production increase’

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A senior oil official said Iran does not intend changes in its plans to increase oil exports in post-sanctions era.

Talking to IRNA on Saturday, Director General of Oil Ministry for OPEC and Oil Forums Mehdi Asali said Iran intends to increase crude production and exports by 500,000 barrels per day after the removal of sanctions with the intention to stop plunging oil prices.

Commenting on rumors that Iran is backing from its previous plans to increase its output and export volume, he said Tehran is thinking of no such alteration in its policies.

As Iranian oil industry officials have repeatedly stressed before, he said, Iran is capable of promptly raising its production and export capacities after the removal of sanctions.

He said Iran is planning to increase its oil production and export level by 500 thousand barrel until it reaches the objective of two million barrels of exports.

Iran has already made it clear that it is planning to increase the volume of its crude oil output to one million barrels per day in two stages.

Iran was allowed to export one million barrels a day during the sanction years to China, India, Turkey, Japan and South Korea.

The Iranian oil ministry has reiterated willingness to regain its oil position in the global oil market including in Organization of Petroleum Exporting Countries (OPEC).

However, certain analysts scattered the rumor that following the drop in oil prices in world markets Iran is to change its position.

They claimed Iran is going to increase its oil production and export volumes in a gradual manner to avoid a war of prices among producing countries.

On Tuesday, Reuters interviewed an oil ministry official on the issue.

Iran would not offer further discounts to draw customers into its oil market, Mohsen Qamsari, director general for international affairs of the National Iranian Oil Company (NIOC) told Reuters by telephone.

He also said, ‘We will be more subtle in our approach and may gradually increase output. We don’t want to start a sort of a price war.

‘I have to say that there is no room to push prices down any further, given the level they are.’

Overproduction, chiefly by Saudi Arabia and non-OPEC producers, has currently led to an excess of up to 2.5 million bpd in the market which has caused crude prices to lose around 60 percent of their value since mid-2014.

OPEC introduced output ceiling of 30 million bpd in its December 2011 meeting as it scrapped allocating fixed production quotas to member countries. The group, however, has been producing nearly a million more barrels than its ceiling for the past 16 months.

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