Financial Tribune – Iran’s crude oil edged closer to $50 a barrel at the end of last month, the Oil Ministry said.
Iran Heavy, the country’s main export grade, settled at $49.17 per barrel in the week to March 31, up 54 cents from the previous week. The country’s light crude gained $1.21, reaching $48.78 per barrel, IRNA reported Saturday, citing a report by the ministry.
The price of OPEC basket of thirteen crudes stood at $51.82 a barrel on Thursday, compared with $51.95 the previous day, OPEC secretariat calculations showed.
International oil benchmark Brent dropped below $50 a barrel in March, the lowest in four months, on concerns over rising US oil inventories and speculations that a deal between members of the Organization of Petroleum Exporting Countries and non-members to cut crude supplies will not be extended for the second half of the year.
Last year, 13 OPEC members and 11 nations outside of the bloc reached a rare agreement to ratchet down global oil production by 1.8 million barrels a day in the first half of 2017 to help alleviate a persistent glut that has put a firm cap on prices in the past three years.
Iran was allowed to slightly raise output compared to its October production level – the baseline for the OPEC accord – because it is recovering from years of international economic sanctions that significantly undermined its oil export and market share.
Earlier this week, the ministry reported that Iran’s crude oil prices settled around 25% higher in March compared to the same period the previous year. Each barrel of Iran’s heavy and light crude was sold at $48.64 per barrels and $47.96 per barrel respectively in the previous month, according to the ministry.
Iran sits behind Saudi Arabia and Iraq as the third-biggest OPEC producer. Officials say the country is now pumping close to 4 million barrels of crude oil and condensate daily, almost level with its output before the tightening of sanctions in 2011.