DUBAI Oct 23 Iran is still producing 4 million
barrels per day (bpd), its oil minister Rostam Qasemi said on
Tuesday, rejecting reports that the country's output has fallen
to around 2.7 million bpd.
According to the latest secondary source estimates published
by OPEC, Iran pumped just 2.72 bpd in September, and Iran's own
data submitted to OPEC showed the country produced 3.75 million
bpd in August.
But Iran's oil minister said the country is now pumping oil
at full capacity, despite Western countries' efforts to prevent
the Islamic Republic from selling oil in a bid to stop it from
continuing its disputed nuclear programme.
"It is currently 4 million barrels per day," Qasemi said on
the sidelines of an energy conference in the United Arab
Emirates when asked by reporters how much oil Iran is currently
producing. He declined to give export figures.
"Iran has been facing U.S. sanctions for 30 years while
sucessfully managing its oil sector," he said.
In a report earlier in October, the International Energy
Agency (IEA)estimated Iranian exports falling to a new low of
860,000 bpd in September, a huge plunge from 2.2 million bpd at
the end of 2011.
Iran rejected the figures saying its oil exports have
remained steady in recent months.
Qasemi said in mid September that crude oil prices, then at
around $118, were too low and oil should rise to at least $150
per barrel. But a month on, and with Benchmark Brent crude
prices having fallen below $110, he said Iran does not want oil
prices to rise.
"We don't want the price of oil to increase, it has to be a
logical price," he said, blaming politics for pushing prices up.
Iran's production is widely believed to have been hit by
Western economic sanctions this year, and the figure given by
Qasemi is substantially higher than many outside estimates.
The International Monetary Fund estimated earlier this year
that Iran's output in 2012 would average 3.6 million bpd, down
from 4.1 million bpd last year, with production at the start of
the year much higher than the second half of 2012 when an EU ban
on Iranian oil came into effect.