‘Iran to raise oil output at any cost to defend market share’

oil IranIran has announced that it plans to raise oil production “at any cost” to defend the country’s market share and has joined calls for an emergency OPEC meeting to help shore up crude prices

Iran oil minister Bijan Namdar Zanganeh said, “We will be raising our oil production at any cost and we have no other alternative.

“If Iran’s oil production hike is not done promptly, we will be losing our market share permanently.”

According to Bloomberg reports, Iran had the second-biggest output in the Organization of Petroleum Exporting Countries (OPEC) before US-led sanctions banning the purchase, transport, finance and insuring of its crude began July 2012. Oil producers such as BP and Shell have expressed interest in developing its reserves, the world’s fourth-biggest, once sanctions are removed.

Zanganeh was speaking during the first visit by a UK foreign secretary to Iran since 2003. Philip Hammond was accompanied by officials from Shell and BP during his visit to reopen the UK embassy, four years after it was shut down, marking the improvement in relations since July’s nuclear accord.

Iran has also backed calls for an emergency OPEC meeting to be held earlier than the oil producing group’s next session on 4 December 2015.

“Iran endorses an emergency OPEC meeting and would not disagree with it,” Zanganeh said. A meeting would be effective in halting oil’s decline, he added.

Amid global glut, OPEC pumped 32.1mn bpd in July this year. Saudi Arabia is set to continue pumping near current levels of about 10mn barrels a day this year and next, according to Barclays analysts.

Zanganeh also noted that other OPEC members should make room for Iran when it raises output after sanctions are lifted as a result of last month’s nuclear pact.

Iran pumped 2.85mn bpd in July, down from 3.6mn at the end of 2011, data compiled by Bloomberg show.

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