DUBAI (Reuters) - Oil Minister Bijan Zanganeh said Iran would join discussions between other producers about a possible freeze of oil production after its own output reached four million barrels per day (bpd), Iran’s ISNA news agency reported on Sunday.
Zanganeh said Iran saw $70 per barrel as a suitable oil price, but would be satisfied with less, ISNA reported.
Asked whether Russian Energy Minister Alexander Novak would try to convince Iran to join an oil output freeze during a visit this week, Zanganeh said Iran may join the freeze after its production reaches 4 million bpd.
“They should leave us alone as long as Iran’s crude oil has not reached 4 million. We will accompany them afterwards,” Zanganeh was quoted as saying.
Iran has rejected freezing its output at January levels, put by OPEC secondary sources at 2.93 million barrels per day, and wants to return to much higher pre-sanctions production.
It is working to regain market share, particularly in Europe, after the lifting of international sanctions in January. The sanctions had cut crude exports from a peak of 2.5 million bpd before 2011 to just over 1 million bpd in recent years.
Iran’s oil exports are due to reach 2 million bpd in the Iranian month that ends on March 19, up from 1.75 million in the previous month, he said.
A meeting between oil producers to discuss a global pact on freezing production is unlikely to take place in Russia on March 20, sources familiar with the matter said last week, as OPEC member Iran is yet to say whether it would participate in such a deal.
Reporting by Dubai Newsroom; Editing by William Maclean, Robert Birsel