The Wall Street Journal

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Iran Says It Won’t Join Immediate OPEC Production Cut
Iran wouldn’t coordinate a crude-oil output reduction with the Organization of the Petroleum Exporting Countries until its own production returns to pre-sanctions levels, a top Iranian oil official said, potentially dashing market hopes of a supply cut.
Iran “won’t consider a cut” until its exports have increased by 1.5 million barrels a day over current levels of roughly 1.1 million barrels a day, the official said. The country is furiously restarting its oil exports after the lifting of nuclear-related western sanctions, which had forced its production down by more than a third.

Iran’s position underscores how difficult it will be for the world’s biggest oil producers to agree on cutting back the vast oversupply of crude that has sent prices to their lowest levels in more than a decade this year. The market had rallied on signs that U.S. production was naturally falling and that Saudi Arabia and Russia were willing to talk about cutting their own.
Russian energy ministerAlexander Novak said Thursday that he would be willing to consider coordinating production cuts at an emergency OPEC meeting in February proposed by Venezuela, one of the cartel’s 13 members. Russia isn’t an OPEC member.
But the Iranian oil official said Iran also wouldn’t support calling an emergency meeting unless there was a consensus on what action should be taken—effectively scuttling the idea for now.
“If the meeting takes place and there is no agreement, it will have a negative impact on prices,” the official said.
The Iranian official didn’t rule out supporting an emergency meeting, as long as Iran wasn’t asked to reduce its production.
The oil market is still reeling from Saudi Arabia’s decision more than a year ago to abandon its traditional role as a so-called swing producer, which means it swung production up and down to regulate prices. Saudi officials believed production cuts wouldn’t work anymore with booming American oil output and decided instead to open up its own taps and fight for market share.
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