U.S. hopes Saudi, Russia can boost oil output to compensate for Iran: Perry

FILE PHOTO: U.S. Secretary of Energy Rick Perry testifies to the House Energy and Commerce Committee on the "Fiscal Year 2019 Department of Energy Budget" on Capitol Hill in Washington, U.S., April 12, 2018. REUTERS/Joshua Roberts

WASHINGTON (Reuters) - U.S. Energy Secretary Rick Perry said on Thursday that he is confident that Saudi Arabia and Russia can increase their crude oil production to stabilize the world oil market, and compensate for supply losses caused by renewed U.S. sanctions on Iran.

“We look at this as an opportunity for the OPEC members to fill this gap, if you will,” Perry said at a press conference at the World Gas Conference in Washington.

“I am comfortable that Saudi Arabia is going to be able to increase their production to... 11 million barrels per day going forward, and that Russia will be able to increase their production, so the worldwide crude market does have some stability,” he added.

The U.S. State Department this week said it was pushing allies around the world to cut their crude imports from Iran to zero as part of renewed sanctions it is imposing after President Donald Trump abandoned a deal reached in late 2015 that limited Tehran’s nuclear ambitions.

Perry said the United States remains ready to tap the Strategic Petroleum Reserve, the country’s emergency stockpiles, if necessary, but that at the moment “I wouldn’t recommend it.”

OPEC last week announced a 1 million bpd oil production increase to ease prices that have shot above $70 a barrel, threatening global economic growth, though Washington has warned that the announced increase may not be enough.

Reporting by Richard Valdmanis; Editing by David Gregorio