Iran may raise oil output gradually to avoid further price slide

 06 Jan 2016 - 0:00

Iran may raise oil output gradually to avoid further price slide


NEW DELHI: Iran is prepared to moderate its oil output and exports once Western sanctions are lifted in order to avoid putting oil prices under further pressure, a senior National Iranian Oil Co (NIOC) official said on Tuesday.

"Somehow, we don't want to start a sort of a price war," S. M. Ghamsari, head of international affairs at NIOC told Reuters in a telephone interview.

"I have to say that there is no room to push prices down any further, given the level where they are," Ghamsari said.

Global oil prices are trading at about two-thirds below their mid-2014 highs due to a supply glut and waning demand, depriving oil producers of billions of dollars in revenues.

Ghamsari expects oil prices to remain at current levels this year, contrary to market expectations that prices could come under further pressure when sanctions against Iran are lifted in the next few months under a nuclear deal reached last year.

Iran, the Organization of the Petroleum Exporting Countries' No.3 producer, will not flood the market and will instead ramp up production gradually, Ghamsari said.

"We will be more subtle in our approach and may gradually increase output," Ghamsari said.

To sell additional barrels on the world market, NIOC is looking at acquiring stakes in existing and new refineries
overseas, said Ghamsari. The strategy is somewhat similar to other Gulf producers like Saudi Arabia and Kuwait.