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Iran official: Saudi undermining OPEC unity

July 2, 2018 at 4:52 am

Iran’s Minister of Petroleum, Bijan Namdar Zangeneh in Tehran, Iran on 6 May 2018 [Fatemeh Bahrami/Anadolu Agency]

Iranian Oil Minister Bijan Zangeneh has said that any increase in production by any member of the Organization of the Petroleum Exporting Countries (OPEC) beyond previously agreed commitments  will be considered a violation of the agreement.

The statement came in a letter sent on Sunday by Zangeneh to UAE Minister of Energy and Industry Mohamed al- Mazrouei, OPEC’s current president.

Zangeneh stated that, “in accordance with the decision taken in the course of the OPEC conference, it was agreed that countries would seek to comply with the organization’s decisions and reduce production by 100 percent from Jul, 1 until the end of the designated timeframe”.

He added that, “it was also scheduled that the joint ministerial committee will monitor the OPEC agreement with the non-OPEC countries on production and report to the Secretary General of OPEC.”

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Zangeneh also asserted that, “any increase in production by any member of OPEC beyond the commitments made during meetings 171 and 174 is a violation of the accord. It is vital to inform all member states of the necessity to comply with the obligations and decisions taken following these two meetings. Any unilateral action will cause damage to the unity and independence of OPEC”.

The Iranian Oil Minister declared that, “Iran announced at the OPEC meeting that any unilateral increase in production beyond the quota set by the member states would incite the United States to take action against Iran. Regrettably, the unilateral behaviour of some members has undermined the foundations and principles of the organization”.

He insisted that, “the decisions of the OPEC should not be used to justify the conduct of some non- OPEC countries that seek to meet the wishes of the US to increase production; a politically motivated decision against the Islamic Republic of Iran that the US had publically announced”.

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US President, Donald Trump, tweeted that Saudi King Salman bin Abdulaziz agreed, via a phone conversation yesterday, to increase the kingdom’s oil production by two million barrels to compensate for losses caused by the unrest in Venezuela and Iran.

Following the US withdrawal from the nuclear deal with Iran last May, Saudi Arabia said it was ready to meet the expected shortfall in global oil supplies due to the sanctions Washington would impose on Tehran, OPEC’s third biggest oil manufacturer.

On June 22, OPEC and non-OPEC producers announced an increase in oil production starting in early July to maintain market supplies. The increase will be achieved by reducing the actual production cut from 2.2 million barrels per day to 1.2 million barrels.