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UPDATE 2-Iran says will double oil exports in two months if sanctions end
November 20, 2014 / 9:48 AM / in 3 years

UPDATE 2-Iran says will double oil exports in two months if sanctions end

* Oil minister says Iran will defend its market share

* Says will raise matter with Saudi Arabia at OPEC

* OPEC meets Nov. 27 in Vienna (Adds analyst comment paras 6-7)

DUBAI, Nov 20 (Reuters) - Iran will double its oil exports within two months if sanctions against it end, Oil Minister Bijan Zanganeh told official news agency IRNA.

Zanganeh said he will talk with top oil exporter Saudi Arabia about market share when OPEC meets next week, IRNA said on Thursday

Iran currently exports around 1.3 million barrels per day (bpd) of oil. At OPEC’s June meeting Zanganeh said Iran could increase oil exports by 500,000 bpd immediately after any lifting of sanctions and could pump 4 million bpd in less than three months after.

“The countries in the south of the Persian Gulf are interested in keeping their market share and a decrease in market share will be difficult,” Zanganeh told IRNA.

“Under no circumstance, will we reduce our global market share, even by one barrel.”

Analysts said it will take longer for Iran to ramp up exports, noting that sanctions on its energy sector may be the last to be lifted if the system is dismantled.

“Zanganeh is being too optimistic in his assesessment,” said Dubai-based oil analyst Amir Handjani. It could take anywhere between three to five years to raise Iran’s oil production to four-five million bpd, he said.

The Vienna OPEC meeting on Nov. 27 will be one of the most important in years. Some in the producing group have called for a supply cut to support oil prices which have fallen by over 25 percent since July.

Iran is in talks with six major powers on curbing its nuclear programme in exchange for an end to Western sanctions. But a comprehensive deal by a Nov. 24 deadline appears unlikely, a U.S. official has said.

In the past two weeks, Zanganeh has visited Gulf Arab states Qatar, Kuwait and the United Arab Emirates in a bid to win support for action to stabilise oil markets.

He also held talks in Tehran with Venezuela. Both OPEC members need a higher oil price to balance their budget than Gulf Arab oil producers.

On Sunday, Zanganeh accused some countries of making up excuses to justify their refusal to stabilise prices by cutting output.

Mohammad Al Sabban, a former senior advisor to Saudi Oil Minister Ali al-Naimi, said he expected OPEC to keep its output ceiling of 30 million bpd unchanged. 

“Given the short time to coordinate not only within OPEC but also with non-OPEC, a rollover is going to be the best compromise,” he told Reuters. (Reporting by Michelle Moghtader; additional reporting by Rania El Gamal; editing by William Hardy)

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