EghtesadOnline: Oil producing nations will be happy to see out the year with oil trading between $55 and $60 per barrel, Oil Minister Bijan Namdar Zanganeh said on Monday.
"The oil market is moving toward a balance between supply and demand and nobody expects that to happen all at once," Zanganeh was quoted as saying by the Oil Ministry's official news agency Shana.
Crude prices have risen more than 20% since members of the Organization of Petroleum Exporting Countries and non-OPEC producers such as Russia reached a historic decision last year to cut daily supplies by around 1.8 million barrels.
International crude benchmark Brent futures traded at $55 per barrel on Monday. Oil prices soared to an 18-month high of more than $58 on Jan. 20 but have since pared back some gains, Financial Tribune reported.
"It is difficult to say if prices will continue to go up … but most forecasts indicate crude oil will settle at $55 a barrel," the minister said.
Zanganeh also played down the prospect of $70-per-barrel crude, adding that the rebound of US shale oil industry and the prospect of higher production by other producers will offset the gains in crude prices.
International prices have maintained a bullish trend in January following reports that OPEC and non-OPEC producers have fulfilled their planned cuts above expectations.
Saudi Energy Minister Khalid al-Falih said this month that producers may not need to extend the oil supply-cut deal given the compliance with the reductions and the outlook for an increase in global demand.