Iran urges Opec action on oil price

Heavily oil-dependent country’s call comes as energy group gives warning on future needs.

Nozari, centre, says global oil instability calls for an emergency meeting [AFP]
Nozari, centre, says global oil instability calls for an emergency meeting [AFP]

After cutting oil production by 1.5m bpd in October, an Opec source said on Tuesday the group may cut oil supplies by a further one million barrels per day (bpd) when it meets in Algeria in December.

Production cuts

Iran, the world’s fourth-largest oil producer, has already cut about 200,000 bpd from an output of around 4.04m bpd in line with Opec’s October agreement, an Iranian oil official said on Friday.

Elahe Mohtasham, an Iranian analyst at the Foreign Policy Centre in London, told Al Jazeera: “In 2000, Iran established an oil stabilisation fund for rainy days like today where oil prices have dropped.

“The oil reserve fund’s purpose was to keep a surplus, and was obtained in times when oil prices were high, back in July for example.

“But apart from mismanagement … there is an ideological economic policy behind some of the advisers of President Ahmadinejad.

“If there were better policies in place, we wouldn’t be in such a mess today.”

Nuclear push

A senior energy adviser to the Iranian government has said energy price instability is precisely the reason Iran needs to pursue nuclear energy, despite the face of international sanctions against the country’s nuclear programme.

IEA Energy Outlook

A report released on Wednesday by the International Energy Agency said the world’s energy needs for the next 30 years will be a serious challenge.

An extra 64 million barrels per day needs to be produced to meet demand.

– $26 trillion is needed to be invested into energy infrastructure between now and 2030.

– By 2030 the amount of oil from most reserves will drop by 10 per cent a year.

– The world’s natural gas reserves should last for about 60 more years. But most of it is held by just three countries – Russia, Iran and Qatar.

– By 2030, oil will be about $200 a barrel – a prediction not including inflation, which could add hundreds of dollars a barrel.

Speaking to Al Jazeera on Wednesday, Mohammad Ahmadian said: “When you compare a gas power plant with a nuclear one, you can easily see a nuclear power plant has a complete economic justification for our country.

“It is true we have abundant gas resources, but it does not mean we are going to burn it for generating electricity at any price. We could use the opportunity to export petrol and gas.”

His comments as came as a Russian newspaper reported that Iran, Russia and Qatar are set to form a joint venture to produce and sell gas.

Kommersant said Russian gas export monopoly Gazprom, the Qatar Liquefied Gas Company and the National Iranian Oil Company will agree to build a pipeline from Iran’s extensive South Pars field to Qatar, where gas will be liquefied.

Russia, Iran and Qatar are ranked first, second and third respectively in terms of global gas reserves.

Iran said there was consensus to set up a gas grouping similar to Opec, which would likely draw criticism from the European Union, which opposes any group that could act like a cartel.

According to Kommersant’s report, Russia referred to the group as a “big gas troika”, which should become a permanent body.

Iran has been slow to develop gas exports, despite its huge reserves, partly because US sanctions have hindered the building of plants to make liquefied natural gas (LNG) for shipment.

Source: Al Jazeera, News Agencies

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