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Iran calls on OPEC to keep output ceiling

Bloomberg

By Ladane Nasseri and Ayesha Daya

Iran will insist that OPEC maintain its current production ceiling for crude when the group’s ministers meet this month, state-run Press TV reported, citing the country’s oil minister.

The Organization of Petroleum Exporting Countries will also discuss candidates for the job of OPEC secretary-general at the June 14 meeting in Vienna, Rostam Qasemi said, according to the broadcaster’s website. Iran will offer a nominee for the position, he said, declining to identify the person.

Iran is the group’s second-biggest producer after Saudi Arabia, which has increased supplies as U.S. and European sanctions against Iran curb the Islamic republic’s exports. OPEC produced 31.62 million barrels a day in April, 5 percent more than its 30 million barrel-a-day ceiling, according to monthly estimates from its secretariat.

Brent crude, a European benchmark for more than half of the world’s oil, dropped below $100 on June 1 for the first time since October as reports of higher unemployment in the U.S. and euro area signalled fuel demand may tumble. Brent for July settlement tumbled $3.44, or 3.4 percent, to $98.43 a barrel on the ICE Futures Europe exchange in London, the lowest close since Jan. 27, 2011. The contract lost 15 percent through May.

OPEC Secretary General Abdalla el-Badri is due to complete his second three-year term at the end of December. Ecuador, Iraq and Saudi Arabia have submitted nominations for the position, according to people with knowledge of the matter.