Iran’s oil minister defends market share

TEHRAN, Iran’s oil minister said Friday he’ll go to an Algerian meeting where producers could move to stabilize prices, but kept his defense of market share.


“Revival of Iran’s lost share in the oil market is the national demand of Iranian nation,” Oil Minister Bijan Zanganeh was quoted in the ministry’s official news agency SHANA as saying.

Saudi Arabia’s oil minister suggested there may be some coordinated action taken among major producers on the sidelines of the International Energy Forum next month in Algeria. In comments to the official Saudi news agency, Oil Minister Khalid al-Falih said “any possible action” required to stabilize the market was under consideration.

Zangeneh noted widespread support for some sort of action earlier this year after Russia and other producers proposed holding output steady. In March, Iran’s oil minister called on so-called freeze supporters to “leave us alone” until his country reaches a stable production rate of around 4 million barrels per day.

Iran in July produced around 3.6 million bpd, according to the Organization of Petroleum Exporting Countries, a level 17 percent higher than during the first quarter of the year when initial production considerations emerged. In his remarks to SHANA, Zanganeh said the production figures were closer to 2.7 million bpd and exports were so far less than 1 million bpd.

The minister restated his position this week that he’d attend the IEF meeting, saying there was a responsibility to restore stability in the energy market.

“However, we expect our right to revive our lost share in the oil market will be taken into consideration,” he said.

A research note from Morgan Stanley this month said it was unlikely that producers in Algeria would take any steps that would have real and lasting impacts on the market. Jamie Webster, a fellow at the Columbia Center of Global Energy Policy, expressed skepticism over the latest narrative on market stabilization efforts.

“Everyone knows the oil industry is cyclical,” he said in response to emailed questions. “But this cyclicality has now extended to breathless discussions of OPEC freezes and cuts, leading to nothing except temporarily inflated prices.”
By Daniel J. Graeber