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Oil Meet Must Ensure all Sides’ Interests

Source: 9/25/2016, Location: Asia

Iran’s President Hassan Rouhani has called for close cooperation among oil producers to help an upcoming OPEC meeting in Algeria achieve its express aim of stabilizing the market.

OPEC and non-OPEC oil producers are about to meet in Algiers later this month to discuss capping oil production which remains at record highs amid stepped-up pumping by Saudi Arabia and others.

“I hope through close cooperation and interaction, effective steps will be taken in line with ensuring collective interests,” Rouhani said in a meeting with Algerian Foreign Minister Ramtane Lamamra in Venezuela’s Margarita Island on Saturday.

The president “stressed the need for oil market stability and fair prices,” the Iranian Ministry of Petroleum’s Shana news agency reported.

Rouhani met the Algerian foreign minister on the sidelines of a Non-Aligned Movement (NAM) summit which Venezuela used to gather support for a global deal to bolster oil prices.

Algeria is to host meetings of the International Energy Forum and the 14-nation Organization of Petroleum Exporting Countries (OPEC) on September 26-28.

Algerian Energy Minister Noureddine Bouterfa visited Tehran earlier this month as part of a whirlwind tour of several countries to build consensus among major producers to strike a balance in the oil market in order to prop up prices.

Oil prices have fallen by more than two-thirds, from over $100 a barrel to under $30 since 2014 amid a global supply glut for which Saudi Arabia is chiefly to blame.

In April, the kingdom scuttled a deal with Russia to cap production and has recently indicated that there is no output freeze in the offing.

Algeria has said Iran has a right to increase production in the face of Saudi objections. Bouterfa has said oil producers could accommodate an increase in oil production by the Islamic Republic.

Iran has ramped up production to regain its market share after the lifting of sanctions which cut its exports by half.

Tehran has been calling on OPEC to restore the quota system which was scrapped in December 2011 under the Saudi initiative.

With differences hardly resolved, there are reports that participants in the upcoming talks would be moving from a production freeze to voluntary output caps.

Bouterfa has said all major oil producers are on board over the need to stabilize the market in order to shore up prices.

“Our discussions with our partners show that there is a consensus around the necessity of stabilizing the market. That is already something positive,” he said last week.

“There is support from Saudi Arabia, Qatar, Iran, Venezuela, Kuwait, and from non-OPEC countries, notably Russia,” he added.

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