Iran's oil output to reach pre-sanctions level by June, official says

DUBAI: Iran’s crude oil production will reach pre-sanctions levels within two months, a deputy oil minister was quoted as saying on Tuesday, a signal the OPEC member might be willing to discuss an output freeze by the time when the exporting group meets next.

Talks between OPEC and non-OPEC producers to freeze production unexpectedly broke down on Sunday when Saudi Arabia insisted that all OPEC members, including Iran, and non-OPEC oil exporters should join in the deal.

Iran, which was relieved of sanctions in January, is concerned at oversupply but is insisting on ramping up its production to pre-sanctions levels and reclaiming its market share before it will consider freezing output.

State news agency IRNA quoted deputy minister Rokneddin Javadi as saying the pre-sanctions level would be attained by the end of the Iranian month of Khordad, which falls on June 20.

The Organization of the Petroleum Exporting Countries meets next on June 2 in Vienna to decide on oil output policy.

“Iran will join any effort towards (stabilising the market) soon after reaching pre-sanctions production,” a source familiar with Iranian oil policy told Reuters after the Doha meeting failed to reach a deal.

Iran’s oil production was slightly below 4 million barrels a day before sanctions were imposed on the oil industry in 2011 and 2012. Last week Javadi said output had already surpassed 3.5 million barrels a day.