September 23, 2018 / 3:08 PM / a month ago

Iran appears to soften stance on OPEC oil output increase

ALGIERS (Reuters) - Iran appeared on Sunday to soften its stance on potential increases in OPEC oil output, saying it was the group’s responsibility to balance the market if production from Iran or any other member declined.

FILE PHOTO: Iran's national flags are seen on a square in Tehran February 10, 2012, a day before the anniversary of the Islamic Revolution. REUTERS/Morteza Nikoubazl/File Photo

Tehran had previously said no OPEC member was allowed to grab market share from rivals, such as Venezuela or Libya, whose production had declined due to unrest or a lack of investment.

Iran itself faces the prospect of much lower oil exports and output in coming months due to fresh U.S. sanctions.

“If there is a fall not only from Iran, but anybody else, it is the responsibility of OPEC and non-OPEC to balance the market,” Hossein Kazempour Ardebili, who represents Iran on OPEC’s board of governors, told reporters.

Iran told OPEC its production had been steady in August at 3.8 million barrels per day. The Organization of the Petroleum Exporting Countries’ own estimates, according to its secondary sources such as researchers and ship-trackers, put Iranian output at 3.58 million bpd.

On Sunday, Kazempour reiterated Iran’s production was stable at 3.8 million bpd.

Reporting by Ahmad Ghaddar; Writing by Dmitry Zhdannikov; Editing by Dale Hudson

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