Iran's oil minister has forecast a sharp drop in oil prices early next year and counseled OPEC countries to prepare to cut output in response, according to a statement published Saturday.
"If OPEC's production follows the current pace, prices will fall considerably during the first and second quarters of next year," Bijan Namdar-Zangheneh was quoted by the conservative newspaper Ressalat as saying.
Calling the threat of a "brutal drop" in prices a serious problem, Zangheneh said OPEC should plan for "a lowering in production for the second and third quarters of next year."
Iran has frequently called on members of the Organization of Petroleum Exporting Countries to resist western pressure to hike production to bring prices down. But Iran softened its stance in March, after seeing little support from other OPEC countries.
The rising price of oil over the past year has made at least 10 billion dollars for Iran, which produces 3.7 million barrel a day, more than any OPEC country save Saudi Arabia. "For every extra dollar on a barrel, that's another billion dollars in the coffers for Iran," a Tehran bank expert said.—AFP.
©--Agence France Presse.
© 2000 Mena Report (www.menareport.com )