Iran says markets have absorbed its rising oil exports

AFP , Wednesday 1 Jun 2016

World oil markets have seen no negative impact from a doubling of Iranian exports following the lifting of international sanctions, the country's oil minister said Wednesday.

The market is returning to a "balanced state", Bijan Zanganeh said Wednesday before leaving for an OPEC oil cartel meeting in Vienna.

"A doubling of exports of Iranian oil has had no negative impact on the market and has been absorbed well," Zanganeh told his ministry's SHANA news service.

Tehran, which has the world's fourth-largest proven crude oil reserves, has been ramping up oil exports since international sanctions were lifted in January following a deal with world powers on its nuclear programme.

Iranian oil production has reached nearly four million barrels per day, around the same level as before sanctions were imposed.

Iran stayed away from a meeting in Doha on April 17 between OPEC and non-OPEC members including Russia that failed to agree on a coordinated output freeze that had been proposed to boost prices.

Cartel kingpin Saudi Arabia refused to cap its own output unless its regional rival Iran did the same.

A global supply glut saw oil prices collapse from above $100 a barrel in 2014 to around $25 in January.

Prices have since recovered to around $50 a barrel, easing pressure on the Organization of the Petroleum Exporting Countries as its members prepare to meet in Vienna on Thursday.

OPEC, which pumps around a third of the world's oil, has historically responded to a fall in prices by cutting production, but this time it has maintained output as it seeks to fend off competition from US shale producers.

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