Iran opposes moving OPEC’s next meeting to July: Zanganeh

June 7, 2019

TEHRAN- Iranian Oil Minister Bijan Namdar Zanganeh, in a letter seen by Reuters, said he disagreed with an OPEC proposal to reschedule the meeting to early July.

The talks are currently set to take place on June 25-26.

As reported by Reuters, Iran has told OPEC that it opposes delaying the oil producer group’s next meeting, setting the scene for another fight with fellow members as U.S. sanctions put Tehran under unprecedented economic pressure with its oil exports down.

The United States reimposed sanctions on Tehran last year, and as a result, Iranian oil exports have decreased from their normal levels.

U.S. President Donald Trump has repeatedly demanded that Saudi Arabia compensate for the drop in Iranian supplies by increasing its own production, a move that Iran has said undermines the proper functioning of OPEC.

OPEC is currently scheduled to meet on June 25, followed by talks with its allies led by Russia on June 26. However, Russia suggested moving the meeting to July 3-4 and Riyadh supports the request, sources within the organization told Reuters.

“I disagree with the proposed changes of the dates. I have already tight commitment in that period and, moreover, no reason was provided on the urgency of giving consideration to this date change,” Zanganeh wrote.

In a separate letter, OPEC said Algeria and Kazakhstan also disagreed with moving the dates.

Sources said Venezuela and Libya additionally opposed a schedule change.

“It is becoming really embarrassing,” an OPEC source said.

Changing the dates would require unanimity, several OPEC sources said. Two sources said one option would be to keep the OPEC meeting unchanged and move the talks with allies to July.

OPEC and its allies, a grouping known as OPEC+, agreed in December to reduce supply by 1.2 million barrels per day from Jan. 1. OPEC’s share of the cut is 800,000 bpd, to be delivered by 11 members - all except Iran, Libya and Venezuela.

Saudi Arabia initially signaled it would make sense to raise supply in the second half. However, it seems more willing now to keep output cuts in place amid a decline in oil prices, which on Tuesday fell to their lowest since January.

In Russia, the head of top oil producer Rosneft, Igor Sechin, said on Tuesday he would seek compensation from the Russian government if Moscow agreed to limit output further.

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