Despite the call of the Organization of Petroleum Exporting Countries (OPEC) to limit its crude output, Iran has no plans to freeze its oil production in an attempt to raise exports to pre-sanction levels before the second half of the year, said Rokneddin Javadi, the managing director of National Iranian Oil Co (NIOC).
“The government has no plans for the time being to freeze or interrupt its increase in oil output and exports based on plans that are being carried out,” said Javadi, who also serves as the Deputy Oil Minister. “In the current context, the oil ministry and the government have issued no policy or program to halt the increase in production and exports and so, the country’s plans to increase crude output continues,” he further explained to Iran’s Mehr news agency.
In April, when members of OPEC and other major producers in Doha, Qatar held a meeting, Iran declined to join other nations in what was supposedly a collective effort to shore up crude prices by freezing crude output.
Talks with oil producers ended in disagreement when Saudi Arabia refused to limit oil production without the cooperation of all OPEC and non-OPEC members including Iran, who is known to be its major rival in influence in the region.
Meanwhile, Iran is now rebuilding its energy industry and restoring crude sales after it has been badly affected by western sanctions. Iran’s oil production is reported to have increased to pre-sanction levels last month, rising up to 3.56 million barrels a day, a rate which was last achieved in November 2011 before trade restrictions were imposed upon the country, according to International Energy Agency (IEA).
Javadi also revealed that Iran’s current crude exports already rose to 2 million barrels per day, with the exclusion of gas condensates. Iran’s crude oil export capacity, he further said, will most likely reach up to 2.2 million barrels per day by the middle of summer.
Oil exports surged more than 40 per cent in April, which is near pre-sanction levels, according to the IEA.
Sanctions were imposed on Iran more than four years ago due to its allegedly harmful nuclear program. Restrictions on energy, financial, shipping, banking, insurance, and trade sectors were lifted in January 2016 after sanctions were lifted by the European Union.