Bijan Zanganeh was cited by Iranian news outlets as saying that the OPEC members can't agree on a move to produce less oil, which would drive up prices.
The press conference room of the OPEC (Organization of the Petroleum Exporting Countries) is seen at the organization's headquarter on the eve of the 164th OPEC meeting in Vienna, Austria on December 3, 2013
Iran's Oil Minister Bijan Zanganeh told the Iranian news agency Mehr on Sunday that the OPEC group of oil-producing countries is unlikely to decide to decrease production at its next meeting in June, since its members will not be able to reach an agreement on the issue.
"Under current conditions, it seems unlikely that the OPEC production ceiling will change," said Zanganeh, explaining that any cut requires a consensus between all members. In April, Zangeneh suggested that OPEC should decide on a five percent cut in production at its next meeting, in order to boost prices.
The 12 members of the oil cartel, led by the biggest producer, Saudi Arabia, made a landmark decision not to cut output to protect prices at their last meeting in November, contributing to a rapid decline in the price of oil, which sank to below $50 a barrel in January for the first time since May 2009. According to data from Marketwatch, Brent Crude is currently trading at $65.55 a barrel.
The decision to maintain their collective production ceiling at 30 million barrels a day was taken despite calls from some members such as Venezuela and Iran to cut production in order to support prices in a market which is oversupplied with output from US shale oil fields.
Zanganeh's comment on Sunday echoes that of Iran's Deputy Oil Minister Rokneddin Javadi, who told reporters at an energy conference in Kuala Lumpur earlier this month that he didn't think that OPEC would change its strategy of leaving market forces to determine the oil price. Javadi added that although members of the cartel have "different ideas" about the oil pricing strategy, he is hopeful that the meeting, scheduled for June 5 in Vienna, could "reinforce cooperation between the members."
Javadi, who is also head of the government-owned National Iranian Oil Company, also said Iran hopes to return to the level of crude exports it had before sanctions, around 2.5 million barrels per day, which he believes could be achieved in three to six months, following the framework deal agreed upon in April to lift sanctions.