Iran has revealed an intention to raise its oil output to four million barrels per day despite efforts by the Organization of Petroleum Exporting Countries (OPEC) to regulate supply so as to shore up and improve on falling prices.
The plan was revealed by Ali Kardor, managing director of the National Iranian Oil Company, during a conference in Tehran on Monday. The increase in output will mark only a slight improvement on the current 3.89 million barrels a day that the Persian Gulf country is producing.
Iran’s deputy oil minister for international affairs, Amir Hossein Zamaninia, said the country is aiming to once again reach the levels of production it was operating at before the imposition of sanctions on its economy years ago. He put the pre-sanction production figure at 4.085 million barrels per day.
The sanctions were relaxed at the beginning of this year.
Zamaninia said the OPEC’s third-largest member exports over 2.2 million barrels a day currently. Bloomberg data show oil output in September stood at 3.63 million barrels per day.
The plan by Iran to boost output may turn out a cog in the wheel of OPEC’s drive to push up oil prices, although it is one the bloc may permit. The country was the second-largest producer in the group before international sanctions were tightened against it in 2012. It is believed to be working to regain its position.
OPEC members are scheduled to meet in November with a view to reaching an agreement on how to go about output cuts, from which it is likely Iran will be exempted. Zamaninia revealed that production quotas for individual member countries will be discussed at the meeting.
However, Kardor has declared that the determination of his country’s oil production based on information from secondary sources, including journalists and analysts, would not be acceptable.
Iranian oil minister Bijan Zanganeh said the country targets crude oil production of 4.28 million barrels per day by 2020 and condensate output of 1 million barrels a day as early as 2018. He said condensate output stands at 688,000 barrels per day at the moment.
Zanganeh has also expressed hope that the country’s natural gas production will reach the same level as that of Qatar by early next year. The oil minister said the main focus of the Persian Gulf nation right was to develop the massive South Pars gas field which it jointly holds with Qatar.
Other shared oil fields are to be developed as well in the drive to boost production.
The Iranian oil minister disclosed that focus would be on improving the rate at which oil is discovered when entering into new contracts with both domestic and international companies.
Kardor stated that Iran has plans to tender the new contracts by November’s ending.
The economy of Iran depends heavily on crude oil production. The country was significantly hurt by years of economic sanctions which prevented it from exporting its oil products to many countries. It has been working to make the most of the reprieve finally granted it this year. This explains its reluctance toward submitting to any production limits ordered by OPEC.