Iran: further OPEC output cut possible

TEHRAN (Reuters) - Iran’s OPEC governor said if oil demand continued to drop the group may decide to further cut its oil output, the Iranian newspaper Hamshahri on Monday quoted him as saying.

“If the demand continues to decrease until the next OPEC meeting, further output cut is possible,” Mohammad Ali Khatibi said. The Organization of the Petroleum Exporting Countries next meets on May 28.

The International Energy Agency said on Friday that oil demand in 2009 would fall 1 million barrels per day (bpd) more than it previously forecast due to the global economic slowdown.

Iran’s Oil Minister Gholamhossein Nozari said on Sunday any further OPEC production cut would depend on the oil market situation.

He also called for more cooperation between producers inside and outside OPEC to help stabilize the market, with oil prices still trading about 65 percent below their peak in mid-2008.

OPEC has already agreed to cut output since September by a total of about 4.2 million barrels per day (bpd), or about 5 percent of world supply, its biggest ever production cuts. It is estimated to have delivered about 80 percent of those cuts.

Lower non-OPEC supply, adding to the impact of OPEC output cuts, could push oil prices sharply higher when demand rebounds during any economic recovery, analysts say.

Reporting by Hosein Jaseb; writing by Parisa Hafezi, editing by William Hardy