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TEHRAN, Jan 5 (Reuters) - Many OPEC states are now producing as much oil as they can, limiting the ability of the cartel to raise output even if such a decision was made to help cool crude prices, an Iranian oil official was quoted on Saturday as saying.
Mohammad Ali Khatibi, deputy director of international affairs at the National Iranian Oil Company, also said in comments to ISNA news agency that any decision to hike OPEC output would only help if the market faced a crude shortage.
Iran has previously said there was no shortage in crude supply and has blamed other factors for surging oil prices, which hit a lifetime high of $100 a barrel this week.
“Because most members are currently producing at full capacity it seems that even if there is a decision to increase the output ceiling, not all members would be able to increase their production capacity,” Khatibi said, when asked if OPEC would hold an emergency meeting to discuss surging prices.
“First it should be clear whether the market’s current problem is a shortage of crude oil or not, because in many instances in winter and summer a shortage of crude products is the main factor behind the rise in prices,” he said.
“In that case, increasing crude oil will not help balance the market because there is no significant possibility to increase the capacities of refineries and refineries are faced with limitations,” he added. (Reporting by Zahra Hosseinian, editing by Tomasz Janowski)
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