(Bloomberg via WorldOil.com) RIYADH — Saudi Arabia will only freeze its oil output if Iran and other major producers do so, the kingdom’s deputy crown prince said, challenging the country’s main regional rival to take an active role in stabilizing the over-supplied global crude market.
The warning by Mohammed bin Salman, 30, who’s emerged as Saudi Arabia’s leading political force, leaves the outcome of a meeting between OPEC and other big oil producers this month in question. Iran has already said it plans to boost its production after the lifting of sanctions following a deal to curb the country’s nuclear program.
“If all countries agree to freeze production, we’re ready,” bin Salman said in an interview with Bloomberg. “If there is anyone that decides to raise their production, then we will not reject any opportunity that knocks on our door.”
After the Organization of Petroleum Exporting Countries abandoned its efforts to boost oil prices in November 2014, focusing instead on protecting its market share, Saudi Arabia increased production to an all-time high of more than 10.5 MMbpd, claiming that customers were asking for more oil.
The meeting of oil producers in Qatar on April 17 follows a gathering in February between Saudi Arabia, Qatar, Russia and Venezuela in which the quartet tentatively agreed to cap their production at January’s level.
The deal, which helped to lift the price of benchmark Brent crude to about $40/bbl from a 12-year low of $27.10/bbl in January, was contingent on other countries joining it.
Iranian Oil Minister Bijan Namdar Zanganeh will attend Doha discussions but won’t join a production freeze, according to a person familiar with the nation’s policy. Tehran will maintain its policy of regaining market share lost during years of sanctions, said the person, who asked not to be identified as the talks are private.
The International Energy Agency said that Iran, in its first full month freed of nuclear sanctions in February, lifted its oil production to a four-year high of 3.22 MMbpd. Oil traders are expecting another increase in March.
Voluntary Cap Traders and analysts have speculated that Riyadh could be ready to voluntarily cap its output at […]