Iran official backs extension of OPEC cuts, dismisses Trump risk

By Grant Smith and Rakteem Katakey on 10/17/2017

LONDON (Bloomberg) -- Iran said it would support an extension of OPEC oil-production cuts to the end of next year, and insisted its own output plans won’t be disrupted by U.S. President Donald Trump.

“We are pleased with the way OPEC has decided to cut some production in order to bring a semblance of balance between supply and demand,” Amir Zamaninia, deputy minister for trade and international affairs at Iran’s Oil Ministry, said Tuesday. “We think that this trend will continue and we will support this trend.”

The Organization of Petroleum Exporting Countries and its partners are debating whether to extend output cuts that are set to expire in March, in an effort to drain the global glut and shore up prices. While the curbs have shown signs of success in recent months, the market could return to surplus if the group fails to renew the accord.

Iran targets oil production capacity of 4.7 MMbpd by 2021, Zamaninia said at the Oil & Money conference in London. It’s currently pumping 3.8 MMbpd to 3.9 MMbpd, Oil Minister Bijan Namdar Zanganeh said earlier this month.

The country agreed to a cap of 3.797 MMbpd in last year’s OPEC accord, which became effective in January. When asked whether Iran would restrain its production if the deal is extended, Zamaninia said it will “match” its plans to expand output capacity with the policies it agrees on with OPEC.

Iran’s energy industry has recovered following the removal of sanctions early last year, yet its oil exports face a challenge after Trump threatened last week to ditch the international agreement that lifted the trade restrictions. Trump refused to certify that Iran is in compliance with the deal, though didn’t repudiate the pact.

Trump’s statement was characterized by “chest-beating” and has “little or no effect” on Iran’s oil plans, Zamaninia said Tuesday. Iran aims to finalize at least 10 contracts with international oil companies by the end of March, and is in talks on projects with potential partners from Europe, Asia and Russia, he said.

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