Iran’s oil minister said Sunday the country’s oil exports jumped again in March, potentially undermining a global deal to limit crude output and raise prices.
Bijan Zanganeh said Iran’s oil and gas condensate exports rose by 250,000 barrels a day in March, to surpass 2 million barrels a day, according to the oil ministry’s official Shana news service.
The remarks were the oil minister’s first comments since a report emerged last week that Saudi Arabia, the world’s largest crude exporter, would limit its production only if Iran followed suit.
The dueling positions by the Middle East’s two biggest rivals for power and economic might have set off a scramble among other oil producing nations to salvage a deal to freeze their output and stop growth in the world’s petroleum supplies. Global oil production outpaces demand by almost two million barrels on any given day now, sending prices CLK6, -0.52% to their lowest levels in over a decade.
Saudi Arabia and other members of the 13-nation Organization of the Petroleum Exporting Countries are set to meet with nonmembers like Russia on April 17 in Doha to hash out a production freeze.
An Iranian media source, the semiofficial Mehr News Agency, reported Sunday that Zanganeh rejected Saudi demands and that he would attend the Doha meeting “if he had time.”
An Iranian oil ministry official denied the report on Sunday, saying Zanganeh hadn’t given an interview to Mehr this weekend. Those remarks had been made by the minister on March 10, the official said.