Nov 19, 2016 15:01 UTC
  • Oil prices may surpass $50 if all producers agree: Petroleum minister

Minister of Petroleum Bijan Zangeneh has expressed optimism about an upcoming meeting of the Organization of the Petroleum Exporting Countries (OPEC) later this month, saying crude prices could surpass $50 a barrel if an agreement is reached.

“If we reach an agreement about the amount of oil production during the next OPEC meeting in Vienna, crude prices will immediately surpass 50 dollars a barrel,” Zangeneh told IRIB on Saturday after a meeting with OPEC Secretary General Mohammed Sanusi Barkindo in Tehran ahead of the 171st (Ordinary) OPEC meeting in the Austrian capital of Vienna on November 30, Press TV reported.

He added that oil prices could jump to nearly 55 dollars a barrel if both OPEC and non-OPEC members cooperate.

"We are receiving positive signals that greatly increase the likelihood of reaching an agreement at the Vienna meeting … and I am very optimistic [about it]," the Iranian petroleum minister said.

He described as positive his talks with the OPEC chief in Tehran and said, “It is highly probable that the OPEC oil and energy ministers will reach an agreement during the November 30 meeting."

OPEC and non-OPEC member states seek to come up with a “comprehensive decision” in Vienna, Zangeneh said, adding that he had received promising information from the OPEC chief.

The minister expressed optimism about the upcoming developments in the oil market, saying, "Countries that had a higher amount of [oil] production in recent years, shoulder a heavier responsibility to improve the market situation.”

He emphasized that Western countries also expect higher oil prices to step out of recession.

In response to a question about fair oil prices, Zangeneh said an appropriate price should serve the interests of both oil producers and consumers.

He added that most OPEC member states support oil prices at between 55 dollars and 60 dollars per barrel.

Oil-exporting countries have been seeking a deal to cap production levels in an attempt to prevent a further drop in global oil prices, which in recent years has seen a fall from a high of 147 dollars a barrel to a low of around 25 dollars.

Saudi Arabia, however, has repeatedly hindered such a deal by insisting that Iran agree to the same low production level as that assigned for other countries.