|Iran can make up for decline in Iraq oil exports: oil minister||
TEHRAN – Iran can make up for the decline in the oil supply to the global market as political unrest in Iraq has put Iraqi oil supplies at risk, Iranian Oil Minister Bijan Namdar Zanganeh said on Saturday.
“However, U.S. sanctions have hindered us from maintaining a stable and reliable supply of oil to the market,” IRNA quoted Zanganeh as saying.
As Iraq’s mounting unrest pushes crude oil prices to their highest levels this year, a report Friday predicts that global oil demand will increase.
“Concerning as the latest events in Iraq may be, they might not, for now, if the conflict does not spread further, put additional Iraqi oil supplies immediately at risk,” the International Energy Agency said in its monthly oil market report.
“While Iraq’s production potential is huge, so are the political hurdles it is facing,” the IEA said. The turmoil in Iraq pushed up world oil prices about 4 percent this week. Brent, the international benchmark, rose 31 cents to $113.41.
The IEA has forecast that Iraq, which has the world’s fifth-largest proven oil reserves, would account for 60 percent of production growth from the Organization of Petroleum Exporting Countries (OPEC) for the rest of this decade. Iraq, now producing about 3.3 million barrels a day, has become OPEC’s second-largest producer, after Saudi Arabia.
Iran has set an output target of 5.7 million barrels per day (bpd) of crude oil by 2018, according to official statements. The latest figures produced by OPEC show that Iran is currently pumping about 3 million bpd of crude.
Iran’s crude oil exports averaged 1.38 million bpd in May. That represents an increase from 1.1 million bpd in April, according to the IEA.
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