Iranian, Saudi ministers hold talks ahead of OPEC summit
Tehran, Iran, June 22
By A. Shirazi - Trend:
Iranian Oil Minister Bijan Zangeneh and Saudi Energy Minister Khalid al-Falih held a meeting in the Austrian capital of Vienna and discussed the latest developments in the global oil market.
The meeting between Zangeneh and al-Falih took place on June 22 ahead of the OPEC meeting on Friday, Shana news agency reported.
The Organization of the Petroleum Exporting Countries will meet on June 22 to decide output policy amid calls from top consumers to cool down oil prices and support the world economy by producing more crude.
The rare meeting between the Iranian and Saudi ministers came as Iran’s assent is vital for OPEC to reach an agreement on raising oil output.
“I don’t think we can reach agreement," Zangeneh told reporters recently after leaving a joint OPEC and non-OPEC ministerial committee in Vienna, while other ministers continued talks.
Iran is usually not part of the committee, which groups Russia, Saudi Arabia, the United Arab Emirates, Oman, Kuwait, Algeria and Venezuela. The committee meeting was the last consultation before the OPEC gathering on Friday.
The meeting continued for around two hours after Zangeneh left. Saudi Energy Minister Khalid al-Falih said the overwhelming majority recommended raising output by 1 million bpd, gradually and on a pro-rata basis among participants.
On Wednesday, Zangeneh had left the door open for a deal, saying OPEC members that had overdelivered on cuts in recent months should comply with agreed quotas. That would effectively mean a modest boost from producers such as Saudi Arabia that have voluntarily cut more deeply than planned.
Falih said the exact mechanics of any increase would be decided among all OPEC members on Friday. OPEC sources have said that if a 1 million bpd output hike were approved, Saudi Arabia would add about 0.25-0.3 million bpd to supply.
Zangeneh told CNN on Wednesday that if OPEC returned to regular compliance, the real supply increase from the group would constitute only around 460,000 bpd.
Falih also said the real increase would be smaller than the nominal gain of 1 million bpd, meaning there was still the possibility for compromise with Iran.
OPEC sources also said Iran had demanded that US sanctions be mentioned in the group’s post-meeting communique, as the recent rise in oil prices is a direct result of US measures.
Recently, Hossein Kazempour Ardebili, Iran's OPEC governor, had said Venezuela and Iraq would join Iran in blocking a proposal to increase oil production that is backed by Saudi Arabia and Russia when OPEC and its allies meet in Vienna.