Isfahan, March 15, IRNA-Iran's Oil Minister Bijan Namdar-Zanganeh said in Isfahan late Monday evening, "Hosting the OPEC oil minsters conference here in Isfahan proves Iran's high level security and stability.
Speaking to IRNA on the sideline of the OPEC conference, Zanganeh said, "Despite certain countries' political campaign, Iran is currently one of the most secure and stable countries in the region and the world."
The IRI Oil Minister further reiterated, "One of the reasons why this conference is being held in Iran is that the Organization of the Petroleum Exporting Countries (OPEC) is today at the peak of its strength and there is absolutely no dispute among the member states." He said, "Iran, the founder and one of the main members of OPEC, has always pursued a supportive policy for the organization." Focusing on the issue of selecting OPEC's next secretary general, Zanganeh said, "Iran and Kuwait have nominees for the post, but since the decisions at OPEC are always ratified unanimously, all member's consent is needed in this case, too, while that has not been achieved yet."
He added, "OPEC can easily perform all it undertakings in the absence of a secretary general."
On OPEC's output, he said, "There have been tow proposals so far, one asking for maintaining the current output, based on the logic that despite the over-production in second half of the year, sufficient production to meet the international markets, demand, and high prices, there is no need to make a new decision that might have a negative result such as further price hikes."
Zanganeh added, "The other proposal is to establish the current real 27.6 million bpd output as OPEC's formal output, while preserving the right for the member producers to increase that level in the future keeping in mind the increased demand based on another unanimous OPEC decision."
He said, "The current high prices are partly due to prevailing political conditions at international scene and partly due to the unusual continuation of the cold season, the refining problems which have emerged in the United States, and the weakness of the US currency."
The oil minister added, "Meanwhile, the consumer countries know that OPEC is currently producing almost at maximum production capacity and enough to meet the current demand at international markets, and yet due to the growing demand for energy in the market and the fact that sufficient investment for boosting production is not made, the prices remain high."
Zanganeh said, "Last year the international demand raided 2.5 million bpd year on year, and the average annual increased demand is currently 1.5 to two million barrels, while the market is well aware that the non-OPEC producers cannot meet that demand."
He added, "Presently the consumer countries are closely watching the OPEC members' level of investments for increasing their production level."
Back to the steady demand growth level in the world, the oil minister said, "Keeping in mind China's 9% economic growth and Japan's recent positive economic growth, if no particular development would take place at the international scene, the demand would remain steadily increasing at the level I said for predictable future."
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