Iran welcomes oil freeze plan by others, but to keep increasing output
Tehran, Iran, Feb. 22
By Mehdi Sepahvand - Trend:
Iran welcomes the efforts by OPEC members and non-members to bring oil prices to a fair level, says Hossein Jaber Ansari, the Iranian foreign ministry's spokesman.
"But, of course, our national policy to go back to our pre-sanctions production level is intact," he stressed, addressing a press conference in Tehran Feb. 22, Trend's correspondent reported from the event venue.
"We hope the countries, which have in the meantime increased their output, will reduce it," added the Iranian diplomat.
Russia and OPEC's major oil producers, including Saudi Arabia, agreed to freeze oil production at the January levels during a meeting in Doha on Feb. 16.
Iran's Oil Minister Bijan Namdar Zanganeh has already announced that Tehran supports any oil freeze plan among global producers to maintain prices.
Mohsen Ghamsari, director for international affairs at the National Iranian Oil Company, said Feb. 20 that Tehran increased oil exports by 400,000 barrels per day in February - right after the removal of international sanctions against Iran in January.
Iran's crude export in February reached 1.4 million barrels per day (mbpd), Ghamsari said, forecasting that the figure will stand at 1.5-1.56 mbpd by March.
Free of sanctions, Iran plans to increase its oil export by 500,000 barrels per day, and then raise the figure by another 500,000 to two million barrels per day in a six-month period at the next step.
Iran's proved oil reserves stood at 157.8 billion barrels in late 2014, according to BP.
Ahead of the Doha meeting, Iran's OPEC envoy Mehdi Asali said Tehran will defend its right to raise oil production to the pre-sanctions level.
"It is illogical to ask Iran to further decrease its output," he said, adding under the current circumstances that Iran's production is much below its quota, the country cannot be expected to further decrease its production.