EghtesadOnline: Strengthening Iran's position in OPEC and retaking its share in the global oil market is among the Oil Ministry’s priorities, new oil minister, Javad Owji, said on Thursday, the first day of his tenure.
Speaking about the upcoming meeting of the Organization of Petroleum Exporting Countries and its allies, OPEC+, and the return of Iranian oil to the market, he said, “World oil demand is increasing due to vaccination. Undoubtedly, one of our plans is to reinforce Iran's status in OPEC and revive our share of the market,” the Oil Ministry’s news agency Shana quoted him as saying.
Regarding the sale of oil and gas condensate, he added, “Fortunately, good solutions have been devised and by taking advantage of all the capacities available in the Oil Ministry and other related organizations, good figures in the sale of crude oil and gas condensate will be reached.”
Owji noted that the priority is to retake Iran's OPEC quota, identify new markets and increase oil sales significantly.
Iran has been exempted from a series of cuts to global supply agreed between OPEC and allies.
As talks to end US sanctions on Iran's energy industry have stalled, the National Iranian Oil Company is producing 2.52 million barrels of crude oil per day. However, the figure is still below the 3.8 million bpd of output recorded before the illegal US sanctions were imposed.
Buyers prepare for a potential easing of sanctions, if Tehran and world powers agree to revive a 2015 nuclear deal that had been abandoned by the former US government in 2018.
Despite the threat of US sanctions looming over buyers of Iranian oil, China's independent refineries have maintained some level of Iranian crude imports in the past few years, according to market sources.
Talks in Vienna aimed at reviving the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action and removing US sanctions on Iran's energy sector have gone nowhere since Iran's presidential election on June 18.
A seventh round was expected to start after Raeisi's Aug. 5 inauguration, but that has not been announced yet.
Former oil minister, Bijan Namdar Zanganeh, said last month that the next Iranian government should make it a priority to boost oil production to 6.5 million barrels per day.
Emphasizing the importance of turning crude oil into more value added products, which will be more beneficial for the country, Owji said, “By attracting capital and creating value added by completing the value chain, especially in the petrochemical sector, we will witness more development in the field.”
“Some domestic and foreign investors are interested in investing in the country's projects not only in the oil industry but also in the field of roads, urban development, power plants, industries and mines,” he said.
“Expanding cooperation with neighboring countries and the Persian Gulf and the Caspian Sea littoral states to explore joint fields, form joint ventures and support the domestic manufacturing sector are among the most important needs of the oil industry.”
Boosting gas delivery to rural areas, preventing the flaring of associated petroleum gases and ensuring sustainable fuel supply for power plants are other areas that Owji need to focus on during his tenure as the oil minister.
Owji was elected the new oil minister of Iran’s 13th administration on Wednesday by lawmakers. Out of the 286 members of the parliament, 198 MPs voted in favor of Owji, 70 voted against him and 18 abstained.
The 55-year-old minister is a graduate of petroleum engineering from the University of Petroleum Industry. He started his professional activity in the oil industry in 1990 and has served in the upstream and downstream oil and gas sectors for over 30 years.
Previously, he served as the deputy oil minister and head of the National Iranian Gas Company, a member of the Board of Trustees of the University of Petroleum Industry and managing director of the South Zagros Oil and Gas Production Company.