Iran says Saudis ‘belittle’ OPEC if raise oil output

Press TV – Iran has strongly reacted to a purported plan by Saudi Arabia to increase its production of crude oil and says the alleged attempt would belittle the Organization of the Petroleum Exporting Countries (OPEC) which last week agreed to maintain supplies.

Iran’s OPEC governor Hossein Kazempour Ardebili was quoted by media as criticizing the Saudi move which he said were in line with pressures by the United States.

OPEC and a group of non-OPEC countries agreed on Saturday that they would return to 100 percent compliance with previously agreed oil output cuts, after months of underproduction by OPEC countries including Venezuela and Angola.

However, media reported later that Saudi Arabia would boost output in July to 10.6 million barrels a day (bpd), 10.8 million bpd and 11.0 million bpd, up from its OPEC target of 10.058 million bpd.

On Monday, US Energy Secretary Rick Perry said the OPEC deal might not be enough to relieve the oil market.

“The State Department says it is short and Saudi Arabia says they will produce 11 million bpd in July. I regret to say they both are ridiculing our organization,” Kazempour told Reuters.

Saudi Energy Minister Khalid al-Falih said the OPEC deal implied an indirect reallocation of extra production from countries unable to produce more oil to those, such as his own, that are able to do so, Reuters added.

On a related front, a senior official from the US State Department was recently quoted by media as saying that Washington would soon push Iran’s oil clients to stop purchases from the country.

The unnamed official said the countries purchasing oil from Iran should prepare themselves to completely stop the Iranian crude imports by November as Washington reimposes sanctions against Tehran.

“We will certainly be requesting that their [Iranian] oil imports go to zero, without question,” the official was quoted as saying.

Meanwhile, an official at Iran’s Ministry of Petroleum was quoted by local media as saying that removing Iran’s crude oil from the market was an impossible move to make.

“This big claim is not feasible because last month Iran shipped 2.8 million barrels of crude oil and gas condensate daily; this figure now stands at around 2.5 million barrels and eliminating it easily and in a period of a few months is impossible,” the official was quoted as saying by Tasnim news agency.

In May, US President Donald Trump announced that he would pull America out of a 2015 nuclear agreement with Iran and re-impose the sanctions that the deal had envisaged to be lifted.

He has already emphasized that the sanctions which would be imposed on Iran would be “at the highest level”.

The sanctions would include a universal ban on Iran over buying or acquiring US dollars as well as restrictions over purchases of crude oil from the country and investing in its oil sector projects.