Iranian Oil Minister Bijan Namdar Zangheneh said Saturday, November 10 Iran was reluctant to cut its oil production in line with an eventual OPEC decision without non-members of the cartel following suit.
"Any new reduction of output must depend on guaranteed cooperation from non-members of OPEC," he told journalists during a gas conference in Tehran. "If there is no cooperation from non-member states Iran will not be prepared to reduce its production by even a single barrel," Zangheneh warned. He said however that the 11 members of the Organization of Petroleum Exporting Countries (OPEC) were united in their stance.
"All the market parameters require a general cutback in production up to the second quarter of next year," he said. The price of oil bobbed up above $21 a barrel on Friday, as Russia finally signaled it was ready to join OPEC in reducing volumes to help put a floor under a market weakened by the global economic downturn.
OPEC itself is expected to slash its own output by as much as 1.5 million barrels from December when energy chiefs meet next Wednesday in Vienna. But the cartel has admitted that its actions alone will not be enough to rescue prices, which earlier this week fell below 19 dollars a barrel for the first time since July 1999. At that point, prices had fallen more than 30 percent in the two months since the terrorist attacks on the United States.
OPEC has tried to form an alliance with non-member states such as Russia, Mexico and Norway so that its own output reductions -- it has already cut production by almost 15 percent so far this year -- do not merely result in other producers filling their boots.
Saudi Oil Minister Ali Al-Nuaimi is expected to visit Oslo and Moscow before Wednesday's meeting, and Zangheneh could also go to Vienna via Moscow. Iran is the second largest producer in OPEC after Saudi Arabia. — (AFP, Tehran)
© Agence France Presse 2001
© 2001 Mena Report (www.menareport.com )