OPEC Should Specify Output Ceiling after Iran Sanctions Relief: Iraqi Minister

TEHRAN (Tasnim) – Iraq’s Oil Minister Adel Abdul Mahdi said the Organization of the Petroleum Exporting Countries (OPEC) could not consider a new production ceiling until it was clear how much Iran would be pumping once anti-Tehran sanctions were lifted.

OPEC Should Specify Output Ceiling after Iran Sanctions Relief: Iraqi Minister

“Now (that) Iran is starting to produce, we don’t know how much and we can’t define it, so we have to wait and see,” Abdul Mahdi told reporters at a news conference after Friday’s OPEC meeting in the Austrian city of Vienna, The Wall Street Journal reported.

The meeting was held to explore ways of lifting languishing prices and turning the global oil market around. There was no mention of a new production ceiling in the final statement of the event, apparently permitting member states to keep producing oil at current rates.

“Why should OPEC sacrifice its part in the market? Others should do the same,” the Iraqi minister further said, referring to non-OPEC countries such as US.

On Friday, OPEC energy ministers present at the Vienna meeting decided to maintain the bloc's current production levels, which could mean continued fall in oil prices.

On December 2, two days before the meeting, Iran's Oil Minister Bijan Namdar Zanganeh sent a letter to the head of OPEC, urging member states of the bloc to respect a shared production ceiling of 30 million barrels a day.

Because of overproduction chiefly by Saudi Arabia and non-OPEC producers, there is currently up to 2.5 million bpd of excess oil in the market which has caused crude prices to lose around 60% of their value since mid-2014.

OPEC introduced output ceiling of 30 million bpd in its December 2011 meeting as it scrapped allocating fixed production quotas to member countries.

The group, however, has been producing nearly a million more barrels than its ceiling for the past 16 months.

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