Iran Economy NewsIran cautions against oil output hike

Iran cautions against oil output hike

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AFP: Iran on Sunday urged OPEC, especially Saudi Arabia, to refrain from any unilateral hike in oil output, saying current crude production was enough to meet any shortages arising over the unrest in Libya.

TEHRAN (AFP) — Iran on Sunday urged OPEC, especially Saudi Arabia, to refrain from any unilateral hike in oil output, saying current crude production was enough to meet any shortages arising over the unrest in Libya.

“There is no need for OPEC members to be hasty and take unilateral decisions” to raise output, Oil Minister Masoud Mirkazemi said of Saudi Arabia, when asked to comment on Riyadh’s offer to compensate for any shortage.

Mirkazemi, the current president of the Organisation of Petroleum Exporting Countries, said that OPEC had so far not decided to hold any extraordinary session to discuss a raise in output.

“There is no need for current output to increase because day by day the amount of sea and land oil stocks is increasing,” Iran’s state news agency IRNA quoted Mirkazemi as saying.

“If a country talks of an output hike, it is not known whether the increase will compensate for the decrease in supply from Libya. It is better for OPEC members to show self-restraint and not be hasty,” he said.

On February 22, Saudi Oil Minister Ali al-Naimi said Riyadh would compensate for any oil shortages caused by unrest in the Middle East, but added there was no current shortage.

“There is concern and fear but there is no shortage,” Naimi said, adding that “OPEC and particularly Saudi Arabia will compensate any shortage because we did that successfully in the past.”

Saudi Arabia, the cartel’s largest producer, is pumping around 8.4 million barrels of oil per day, but Naimi said the kingdom still has a spare capacity of another four million bpd.

Iran is OPEC’s second largest oil exporter.

World oil prices edged upward before the weekend close on worries that escalating unrest in the oil-rich Middle East and North Africa might choke supply.

New York’s light sweet crude for April closed up 60 cents to $97.88 a barrel Friday, after an intra-day high on Thursday of $103.41, a level last seen in September 2008.

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