Mid-2011 efforts to offset declines in Libyan oil production should be reversed because the oil market is currently balanced, the Iranian oil minister said.
The International Energy Agency during the summer called on member states to release oil from strategic reserves to offset production declines from war-torn Libya. Some members of the Organization of the Petroleum Exporting countries made unilateral decisions to pump more crude as well.
Iranian Oil Minister Rostam Qasemi said ahead of Wednesday's regular OPEC meeting in Vienna that producers should return to the scenario that existed before the war in Libya.
"The market is balanced and there is no need to increase OPEC's production ceiling," he was quoted by the semiofficial Mehr News agency as saying. "Those member countries that have increased their production to compensate for Libya should cut back."
Price-hawk Iran, he said, considers the current market condition good in terms of oil prices. He added it was unlikely that markets would be further constrained because the European Union "definitely" won't sanction Iran's oil in response to nuclear weapon concerns.
Iran discovered a gas field in its territorial waters of the Caspian Sea that the minister claims holds more than 50 trillion cubic feet of natural gas. Iranian energy companies, he said, are the only ones in the region with the ability to get at the gas, which is in about 2,300 feet of water.