The OPEC+ group could easily extend its agreement on oil-production cuts, according to Iranian Oil Minister Bijan Namdar Zanganeh.
“My understanding is, there is no difficulty extending the cooperation. It should be easy” to prolong the deal beyond the first half of the year, Zanganeh told reporters in Moscow following a meeting with his Russian counterpart Alexander Novak. The current OPEC+ pact “is going ahead well,” Zanganeh added.
Iran is exempt from oil-output cuts following U.S. President Donald Trump’s decision to re-impose sanctions on the country last year. When the Organization of Petroleum Exporting Countries and its allies met in Vienna in December to work out the details of the new production-cuts pact, Iran’s opposition was one of the stumbling blocks to reaching a deal. Russia helped to overcome this and get a deal agreed.
The OPEC+ agreement to reduce oil output by 1.2 million barrels a day expires at the end of June. So far, there’s little clarity on how willing the key members of the group are to extend it. Russia, OPEC’s main ally outside the group, has advocated a wait-and-see approach, proposing to postpone a decision until May or June. Saudi Arabia, which was initially in favor of making a new commitment quickly, later agreed more time is needed.
Oil just had its best quarter in a decade which prompted Trump to criticize OPEC, saying the cartel should increase production because prices are getting “too high.”
Despite pressure from Trump to raise production, Saudi Arabia and the other members of OPEC+ seem resolved to continue restraining output to avert a glut. OPEC’s crude production slid in March for a fourth month, according to a Bloomberg survey, as Saudi Arabia pressed on with output curbs aimed at balancing global markets, and as an economic crisis in Venezuela escalated.