April 26, 2019 / 6:46 AM / 2 months ago

Saudi, UAE overstate their oil capacities: Iran oil minister

FILE PHOTO: Iran's Oil Minister Bijan Zanganeh talks to journalists at the beginning of an OPEC meeting in Vienna, Austria December 6, 2018. REUTERS/Leonhard Foeger

DUBAI (Reuters) - Iranian Oil Minister Bijan Zanganeh said Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates overstate their oil capacities, Iran’s state news agency IRNA reported on Friday.

The comments were in reaction to expectations the two countries would fill any supply gap caused by a tightening of U.S. sanctions on Iran.

Washington has decided not to renew its exemptions from U.S. sanctions to buyers of Iranian oil. A senior U.S. administration official said on Monday that President Donald Trump was confident Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates would fill any gap left in the oil market.

“The U.S. behavior and oil sanctions are not a bluff, but (the result of) very violent hostility toward the Iranian nation,” Zanganeh was quoted by IRNA as saying.

“I believe they (Saudi Arabia and the UAE) are overstating their oil capacities,” Zanganeh said.

Saudi Arabia’s energy minister said on Wednesday he saw no need to raise oil output immediately after the United States ends its waivers, but added that the kingdom would respond to customers’ needs if asked for more oil.

The kingdom’s exports in April will be below 7 million barrels per day (bpd), while production is around 9.8 million bpd, Saudi officials have said. Under the OPEC-led deal on supply cuts, Saudi Arabia can pump up to 10.3 million bpd.

“There’s roughly a million barrels per day of Iranian crude (exports) left, and there is plenty of supply in the market to ease that transition and maintain stable prices,” Brian Hook, U.S. special representative for Iran, said on Thursday.

Reporting by Dubai newsroom; Editing by Kirsten Donovan

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