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.