DUBAI - Iran will ramp up crude oil production and reclaim its lost share of exports shortly after international sanctions on the OPEC member are lifted, Iran's oil minister Bijan Zanganeh said on Tuesday.
Iran and six world powers agreed a deal in July to curb Tehran's nuclear program, but sanctions imposed in 2012 will not be lifted until Iran has complied with all the terms of the pact.
Britain's foreign minister said on Monday that international sanctions on Iran could start to be lifted as early as spring next year.
At a news conference in Tehran, Zanganeh said Iran should sell its crude regardless of the oil price.
Brent oil was trading at about $44 a barrel on Tuesday, close to 6-1/2-year lows hit this week on global oversupply and worries about the severity of an economic slowdown in China, the world's top commodity consumer.
"We should sell our oil whether the price falls or goes to $100 [a barrel]. Even though we would like to sell our oil more expensively, the price is determined by the market," Zanganeh was quoted as saying by Shana, the oil ministry's news agency.
"After lifting sanctions, Iran will take back the market share of more than 1 million barrels a day that it lost," he said.
Zanganeh said Iran would raise its production by 500,000 barrels per day (bpd) once sanctions were lifted and that a further 500,000 bpd would be added shortly after that.
Earlier this month, the International Energy Agency said Iran could raise its oil output by as much as 730,000 bpd from current levels fairly quickly after sanctions were removed.
Iranian oilfields, which pumped around 2.87 million bpd in July, could increase production to between 3.4 million and 3.6 million bpd within months of sanctions being lifted, the West's energy watchdog said.
The report by the Paris-based IEA suggested any increase in output would probably be more modest than Iranian estimates, and said Tehran would need massive investment to raise production capacity.
Zanganeh also said Iran's oil exports had increased by 15 percent in the first four months of the current Iranian year, which starts around March 20, compared to the same period last year. He gave no further details.