SHANA – Iranian Minister of Petroleum Bijan Zangeneh said the oil market was under pressure because of coronavirus outbreak and as a result the oil price had fallen to below $60 per barrel, adding, “Efforts must be made to ensure the market balance”.
Speaking to reporters, Zangeneh said on Monday about an extraordinary ministerial meeting of the Organization of the Petroleum Exporting Countries (OPEC) due to the outbreak of coronavirus, stating: “As a result of the outbreak of this virus in China and the subsequent shutdown of some factories, transportation industry, etc., the amount of oil consumption in this country has been affected leading to a reduced demand for crude oil.”
He said that reduced demand and stabilization of supply had spurred a downward trend in oil prices, adding: “In a conversation I had with OPEC President, I said that if a meeting was to be held prior to a scheduled meeting in March, there has to be preparedness and assurance about reducing production by all the members, but if we are to negotiate at an extraordinary meeting and then make a decision, there is no necessity for holding an early meeting and the 178th Meeting – on the same date (March 4-5) would be held.”
Algeria’s Energy Minister Mohamed Arkab is currently chairing OPEC meetings.
Earlier, Russian Energy Minister Alexander Novak and Algerian Energy and Mines Minister and OPEC President Mohammad Arkab had talked about the possibility of holding the 178 OPEC meeting as an extraordinary meeting in February.
OPEC Ministers along with non-OPEC oil producers agreed at the 177th meeting to curb the OPEC+ output by 503,000 b/d (372,000 b/d cuts by OPEC members and 131,000 by non-OPEC producers) besides the previously agreed cuts, and bring OPEC+ production reductions to 1.703 mbd.