Iran's oil minister said he will talk with top oil exporter Saudi Arabia about market share when OPEC meets next week in Vienna, as Tehran plans for the possible end of sanctions and unfettered crude exports.
Zanganeh said Iran's oil exports would increase by two fold within two months of lifting the sanctions, although analysts say it may take longer. Iran exports around 1.3 barrels of oil per day.
“The countries in the south of the Persian Gulf are interested in keeping their market share and a decrease in market share will be difficult,” Iran Oil Minister Bijan Zanganeh was cited as saying by the official news agency IRNA on Thursday. “Under no circumstance, will we reduce our global market share, even by one barrel.”
The Vienna OPEC meeting on Nov. 27 is shaping up to be one of the most important in years. Some in the producing group have called to cut supplies to support oil prices, which have fallen by over 25 percent since July.
Iran is in talks with six major powers on curbing its nuclear program in exchange for an end to Western sanctions. But a comprehensive deal by a Nov. 24 deadline appears unlikely, a U.S. official has said.
In the past two weeks, Zanganeh has visited Gulf Arab states Qatar, Kuwait and the United Arab Emirates in a bid to win support for action to stabilize oil markets.
He also held talks in Tehran with Venezuela. Both OPEC members need a higher oil price to balance their budget than Gulf Arab oil producers.
On Sunday, Zanganeh accused some countries of making up excuses to justify their refusal to stabilize prices by cutting output, a possible reference to Saudi Arabia.
Saudi Oil Minister Ali al-Naimi has reaffirmed the kingdom's longstanding policy of seeking stable global markets and dismissed talk of a “price war.”
Mohammad Al Sabban, a former senior advisor to Naimi, said he expects OPEC will keep its output ceiling of 30 million bpd unchanged.
“Saudi Arabia has re-instated repeatedly, that OPEC, as a whole should swing and not only them. The Saudis are ready to do their part in defending the market,” he told Reuters. “Therefore, given the short time to coordinate not only within OPEC but also with non-OPEC, a rollover is going to be the best compromise.”