TEHRAN (Reuters) – Iran’s oil minister renewed his call for OPEC to cut production when it meets later this week, saying this was the only way to prevent crude prices falling further, the official IRNA news agency reported on Sunday.
“The only way to prevent global oil prices from falling further is to cut OPEC’s production ceiling,” Oil Minister Gholamhossein Nozari said late on Saturday, according to IRNA.
Pressure is mounting within the Organization of the Petroleum Exporting Countries (OPEC), which is due to hold an emergency meeting in Vienna on Friday, to reduce supplies after oil prices tumbled to half their July peak of $147 a barrel.
Benchmark U.S. crude was on Friday trading at around $72.
Nozari earlier this month said Iran, OPEC’s second biggest producer after Saudi Arabia, would seek an output cut at the cartel’s next meeting. That gathering was brought forward from November.
Other Iranian media on Saturday quoted him as saying that Iran wants higher oil prices and seeks to create balance in the market between supply and demand.
Economists say Iran has become increasingly dependent on high oil prices, some saying it now needs $70 to $75 a barrel for its crude to balance its books. Iranian crude tends to trade at a discount to international benchmarks.