Iran plans to lift its crude oil production capacity by 3 million bpd, Iranian oil ministry’s news service, Shana, reported on Monday, quoting a senior official as saying that the move was aimed at boosting the Islamic Republic’s footing in OPEC and the global market.
Speaking on the sidelines of an oil industry conference in Iran, Gholam-Reza Manouchehri, Deputy Head of the National Iranian Oil Company (NIOC) for Engineering and Development, did not provide specific timeframe for Iran reaching that increase, which Platts is calculating at about an 80-percent capacity boost.
Iran, currently OPEC’s no. 3 biggest producer behind Saudi Arabia and Iraq, was allowed to slightly lift its production to up to 3.797 million bpd between January and June, while the two biggest, archrival Saudi Arabia, as well as Iraq, had to cut the most.
Since western sanctions on Iranian oil exports were lifted in January 2016, Tehran has tried to return to pre-sanction levels of output and exports, and used this bargaining chip to obtain an OPEC exemption from cuts.
According to OPEC data, Iran has largely stuck to its commitment for production in the three months to March, exceeding slightly its output in February and pumping below its quota in January and March.
According to an S&P Global Platts survey, Iran produced 3.77 million bpd of crude oil in April.
Nonetheless, Iran is looking beyond the OPEC deal, and has said that it wants to increase its production to 5 million bpd by 2021. Related: Tech Breakthroughs May Save Deepwater Oil
Iran needs a lot of foreign investments to achieve much higher production, but international oil companies continue to be cautious in signing deals with Iran and committing to investments in its oil industry.
According to Manouchehri, as reported by Shana, the NIOC has signed 24 memoranda of understanding (MoU) with domestic and international companies since January 2016.
The Iranian oil company is also considering signing US$80 billion worth of deals with domestic and international contractors over the next two years, Manouchehri said.
By Tsvetana Paraskova for Oilprice.com
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