Iran, Nigeria have right to raise oil output, Algiers host says

By Dina Khrennikova on 9/9/2016

MOSCOW (Bloomberg) -- OPEC and other producers can reconcile talks aimed at stabilizing the oil market with the prerogative of Iran, Nigeria and Libya to boost output, according to Algeria’s energy minister.

“Iran has the right to increase production to the pre-sanctions level,” Algeria’s Noureddine Bouterfa said in an interview in Moscow Friday, after meeting his Russian counterpart Alexander Novak. “It is also the right of Libya, Nigeria to increase.”

Bouterfa was shuttling between Moscow and Paris on Friday as he prepares to host talks between the Organization of Petroleum Exporting Countries and other major oil exporters in Algiers later this month. Discussions aimed at freezing production failed in April, after Saudi Arabia insisted on the participation of its Persian Gulf rival Iran, which said it would keep increasing output after the lifting of international sanctions.

Iran has said it’s too soon to cap its output as the nation bids to regain its pre-sanctions share of OPEC production, while Nigeria and Libya are looking to pump more barrels after political turmoil and violence disabled pipelines, ports and other oil infrastructure.

Anything possible

“All the solutions are possible,” Bouterfa said when asked if higher output from those countries could be accommodated within a freeze deal.

Russia reiterated its support for a freeze deal to balance markets, and its readiness to join in a consensus, calling the Algiers meeting the appropriate place for discussion, Novak said in a statement on his ministry’s website following the meeting with Bouterfa.

“We hope that the divisions within OPEC will soon be overcome and a compromise solution would be found,” Novak said.

The Algerian minister said he’s next heading to Paris to meet with his Saudi counterpart Khalid Al-Falih and Mohammed Barkindo, secretary-general of OPEC, to evaluate actions by Iran, Russia, Algeria and Qatar in preparation for Algiers.

Should an agreement fail to materialize in Algiers, the dialog would continue at OPEC’s next official meeting in Vienna, Bouterfa said.

“If we have an agreement in Algiers it’s very good but if we don’t have an agreement, it’s also good,” he said.

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