Oil Minister: Tehran to support extension of oil production cap by OPEC
Iran’s Rouhani Government has said that it will support limits on oil output and production, despite possible effects on economic recovery.
In December, the Organization of the Petroleum Exporting Countries (OPEC) agreed with Russia and other non-members to cut oil production by nearly 1.8 million barrels a day for six months from January 2017. The producers are hoping for a rebound in oil prices which had fallen sharply since 2014.
Iran obtained a partial but limited exemption from the reduction, with an allowance to raise its production to pre-2012 levels — before US and European sanctions crippled output — to about 4 million barrels per day, with about 2 million bpd in exports.
A 40% rebound in sales, following the January 2016 implementation of the nuclear agreement with the 5+1 Powers, has brought badly-needed revenues. However, a further rise is limited not only by the OPEC cap but also by bottlenecks over foreign investment and technology. Approval of Iranian Petroleum Contracts with foreign companies has been delayed for months by debate over the terms and opposition from some Iranian factions.
Oil Minister Bijan Zanganeh said in a press conference in the energy hub of Assaluyeh that the OPEC arrangements are “historic” and have grown stronger “month by month”.
“The market has already taken the output cut plan seriously. This shows that the agreement between OPEC and non-OPEC producers has been successful,” he said.
Zanganeh said he expected oil prices to remain around $55 per barrel, compared to a low last year of about $25.
The Minister did not address the issues of possible limits on further economic recovery, instead saying that Iran supported an extension of the plan: “If all producers continue complying with the output cut, Iran would also do the same.”
TOP PHOTO: Oil Minister Bijan Zanganeh (SHANA)
Tehran Mayor Ghalibaf Announces Presidential Candidacy
Tehran Mayor Mohammad Baqer Ghalibaf has joined the contenders in the May 19 Presidential election, registering just before the Saturday deadline.
The mayor of Iran’s capital since 2005, Ghalibaf ran in 2013 but divided the vote with two other conservative candidates, helping centrist Hassan Rouhani to a first-round victory.
He finished behind Ebrahim Raisi, the head of the leading religious organization Astan Quds Razavi, in the recent preference of the new conservative-hardline bloc Popular Front of Islamic Revolution Forces. However, the Popular Front said last week that all five finalists can register and it will not make a final selection until later in the campaign.
In the video announcement of his candidacy, Ghalibaf said President Rouhani is out of touch with ordinary people, rarely leaving his office to see people’s problems. He declared that Iran needs an executive leader who can take decisive action to ameliorate the plight of the disadvantaged and create jobs.
Ghalibaf brings experience as a Revolutionary Guards commander and Tehran Chief of Police, as well as his mayor’s position. However, he has been saddled recently with claims of corruption and with the fallout over the deadly fire in the iconic Plasco building, which exposed the poorly-resourced emergency services.
Almost 1,700 people filed for candidacy. All but a few will be disqualified by the Guardian Council before campaigning begins in earnest.