SANCTIONS-HIT Iran yesterday called for OPEC to hold an extraordinary meeting to rein in output going over its agreed total quota because oil prices have dipped to a "critical level" under US$100 a barrel.
"We have asked the secretary general to set up an extraordinary meeting as prices have become irrational," Iranian Oil Minister Rostam Qasemi was quoted as saying on his ministry's official news website Shana.
He stressed that the last Organisation of Petroleum Exporting Countries meeting, on June 14, had decided the cartel's overall quota would be 30 million barrels but "members' production has reached 33 million barrels a day."
OPEC had agreed that "when the prices go below US$100 a barrel, they have reached a critical level," and therefore an extraordinary meeting was needed before the next scheduled OPEC meeting in December, he said.
Iran is suffering under tightened Western sanctions aimed at severely restricting its all-important oil exports.
Those sanctions will get tougher from Sunday, when an EU oil embargo which will also block most insurance for tankers carrying Iranian oil anywhere in the world comes into full effect.
Tehran had been banking on the sanctions to cause oil prices to spike higher, off-setting their impact.
But quota-busting production by OPEC members Saudi Arabia and Kuwait, coupled with the European Union's debt woes and slowing growth in China have tilted the global oil supply-and-demand balance out of its favour.
Iran, along with Venezuela, an OPEC member that is also strongly anti-US, are pushing within OPEC for production to be cut to boost prices.
Sunday, July 1, 2012
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