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EghtesadOnline: Oil Minister Bijan Namdar Zanganeh says Iran plans to raise crude oil output by 700,000 barrels per day in the long run, a decision that does not interfere with OPEC's short term reduced supply plans.

"We are keen to raise crude production capacity to 4.7 million barrels a day by 2021. We are talking about production plans in mid and long-term and our target does not complicate OPEC's short-term decisions," Zanganeh was cited as saying in an interview with Argus, Shana reported on Wednesday.

The Organization of Petroleum Exporting Countries extended an agreement to cut crude supplies by 1.2 million bpd for the first half of 2017 by nine months to March 2018. The deal, supported by 600,000 bpd in cuts from non-members such as Russia, is a global effort to reduce bloated stockpiles of crude oil and raise low prices.

Under the deal, Iran is allowed to pump 3.8 million bpd on average by the first quarter of next year, Financial Tribune reported.

Iran exports close to 2.1 million bpd of crude oil and between 600,000 and 700,000 barrels a day of condensates, a type of ultra light crude.

Tehran is also interested in diversifying its crude market, according to the minister.

"We don't want to rely solely on our backbone customers in Southeast Asia. Our main targets are Africa and Europe, particularly Northern Europe. Many of our new customers, such as Total, Eni and Lukoil, transport our oil to European terminals."

Zanganeh confirmed that Iran sells 100,000 bpd of crude to Russia, but said, "I don't know where our oil cargoes are sent (by Russians). I'm not in a position to know that, but I've been informed that they deliver Iran's crude to European customers."

According to published reports, officials have stated that the destination of any outbound crude shipment has to be decided by the National Iranian Oil Company, but Zanganeh's remarks on crude supplies to Russia indicates a change in Tehran's oil export policy.

Opec Bijan Namdar Zanganeh Iran oil Iran oil output Iran-OPEC