Iran General NewsIran says OPEC determination needed over oil price

Iran says OPEC determination needed over oil price

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ImageReuters: Iran's oil minister said OPEC member states needed to show determination to prevent oil prices from falling further, the Islamic Republic of Iran Broadcasting (IRIB) website reported on Sunday.

ImageTEHRAN, Jan 4 (Reuters) – Iran's oil minister said OPEC member states needed to show determination to prevent oil prices from falling further, the Islamic Republic of Iran Broadcasting (IRIB) website reported on Sunday.

The Organization of the Petroleum Exporting Countries agreed in Algeria last month to reduce output by a further 2.2 million barrels per day from Jan. 1, bringing total cuts by the group from its September 2008 production levels to 4.2 million bpd.

"If OPEC member states are not determined … the price of oil will continue to drop," Iranian Oil Minister Gholamhossein Nozari was quoted as saying.

But he noted that the year had started with a rising oil price, IRIB reported, following OPEC's moves to lower output.

"The commitments of some (OPEC) countries in connection in lowering oil production have caused an increase (in the price) … since the beginning of January," Nozari said.

Some OPEC delegates have in the past voiced concern about Iran's compliance with previous output curbs. Iran, OPEC's second biggest producer, insists it sticks to OPEC commitments.

"The member states have adhered to the previous two decisions by around 58 percent and I think that the recent decision calling for 4.2 million bpd cut in production was a serious decision," Nozari said.

Oil prices jumped 4 percent Friday amid rising tensions in the Middle East and a dispute between Russia and Ukraine over natural gas supplies that spawned worries over fuel availability in Europe.

Crude prices have plunged by some $100 per barrel since mid-July to around $46, pulled down by the global financial crisis and a slowing world economy.

A senior Iranian official said on Saturday OPEC could meet in February in Kuwait to review the oil market's performance in January, but added that no official invite had been made.

Asked what the price should be to make production profitable, Nozari said it differed from country to country, but suggested a level of between $75 and $80 per barrel was needed.

Saudi Arabia has said $75 a barrel was a fair price, comments echoed by an Iranian official last month.

"If you look at it on a long-time basis the numbers and figures given by Saudi Arabia at $75 to make investment feasible would be logical and I think a price at $80 dollar can have investment justification over the long run," Nozari said.

"Otherwise around 4 million barrels (a day) of oil which had been previously scheduled to go into production would be eliminated," he said. (Reporting by Hashem Kalantari; Writing by Fredrik Dahl; Editing by Sharon Lindores)

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