TEHRAN (Reuters) -OPEC is unlikely to change production at its meeting this month and, due to high prices, is likely to continue supplying the market more than demand, Iran’s OPEC governor Hossein Kazempour Ardebili said on Saturday.
“It doesn’t seem that OPEC’s production ceiling is going to change, even though because of the decrease in international economic growth and the increase in non-OPEC countries’ production, demand on OPEC oil has decreased,” he said.
Iran’s oil minister has also previously said he did not expect the Organization of the Petroleum Exporting Countries to change output when it meets on September 11 in Vienna.
The 11-member cartel is producing close to its full capacity, with only Saudi Arabia holding back spare volumes.
“Concerning the current prices, it seems that the policy of (OPEC) supplying more than demand to the market will continue to avoid (OPEC) being accused of causing prices to increase,” Kazempour told reporters.
Oil prices eased below $70 a barrel on Friday on expectations of a long delay before the United Nations decides on sanctions against Iran, the world’s fourth-largest oil exporter.
Tehran has failed to meet a U.N. Security Council demand to halt uranium enrichment, a process the West says Iran is using to build atomic bombs. Tehran, which denies the charge, now faces the threat of sanctions.
Asked if Iran would use oil as a weapon if sanctions were imposed, Kazempour replied: “We will not be sanctioned.”
Iran has intermittently threatened to use its massive oil exports as a weapon in international diplomacy, but Tehran receives 80 percent of its export earnings from energy and would find such a cut difficult to maintain.
Iran’s chief nuclear negotiator, Ali Larijani, has warned the U.N. Security Council “not (to) force us to do something that will make people shiver in the cold.” He said Iran did not want to use oil as a weapon but would defend its rights.
The EU has signaled it wanted to see more dialogue with Tehran, even as the United States said on Friday it was consulting European governments about possible sanctions against Iran for intransigence over its nuclear program.