Iran to seek OPEC oil output cut
Iran will push for a cut in oil output at an OPEC emergency meeting in November, its oil minister said in comments published on Sunday, after a week of falling crude prices, reuters reported.
"At this meeting our country's request (for the Organisation of Petroleum Exporting Countries) to cut production and the members' crude quotas will be submitted," Oil Minister Gholamhossin Nozari was quoted as saying by the Poul daily.
"It seems that if OPEC does not take a major decision to confront falling oil prices, investment conditions in the oil industry would be faced with a serious danger," he told the Iranian newspaper.
Oil prices touched 13-month lows on Friday in a global flight from risk amid concerns of a worldwide recession and further signs of slumping energy demand.
The price fall has caused some OPEC members to call for a reduction in production levels, and the cartel will discuss the impact of the global financial crisis on the oil market at the planned November 18 meeting in Vienna.
Iran is the world's fourth-largest crude producer and traditionally a price hawk in OPEC, which pumps about 40 percent of the oil produced globally.
OPEC members Nigeria, Qatar, Libya and Iraq last week also floated the idea of a cut in the group's oil output.
It does not officially have quotas, but the term is sometimes used to describe agreed output targets for each member country.
Prime Minister Gordon Brown has said it would be "wrong" for OPEC to cut output just as oil prices are falling.
Nozari blamed the falling crude prices on the economic problems in the United States, which have spread to Europe and Asia.
"OPEC's emergency meeting in Vienna is after creating stability in the market," Nozari told Poul.
The 13-member group last met in September, when it agreed to comply strictly with its formal output target, a move OPEC said meant it would cut supply by about 500,000 barrels per day.
On Saturday, Nozari called for "fundamental decisions" but did not spell out whether he believed OPEC should decide to reduce output at next month's meeting in the Austrian capital, suggesting it would depend on the market situation.
He had said on October 4 that oil producers were pumping too much oil and that a price under $100 per barrel was too low.
On Friday, U.S. crude plunged nearly $9 to settle at $77.70 a barrel, the lowest level since September 10, 2007, and down 17 percent from last Friday's settlement.
Slumping demand in the United States and other developed economies along with the flight from risk have sent oil prices crashing to nearly half their record level set in July.