Survey: Iran Pushes OPEC Oil Output to New High as Sanctions are Lifted

Reuters

LONDON, Jan 29 (Reuters) - OPEC oil production has jumped to its highest in recent history in January as Iran increased sales following the lifting of sanctions and its rivals Saudi Arabia and Iraq also boosted supply, a Reuters survey showed on Friday.

Rising output in the Organization of the Petroleum Exporting Countries further aggravates the market share battle between top global producers. In the past year this has flooded the market with new barrels, creating one of the worst oil gluts in history and helping send prices to a 12-year low.

The January supply figures contrast with statements from multiple OPEC officials and recent comments from non-OPEC Russia about the need to cooperate and possibly restrain supply to help oil prices to recover.

"Genuine production cuts are still a very long way off," said Barbara Lambrecht, an analyst at Commerzbank.

"Although we are convinced that prices will rise in the long term, we nonetheless warn against short-term price falls. After all, Iran and Iraq will soon be opening up new sources of supply which will pump additional oil onto the market."

Iran provided the biggest increase in supply among the OPEC members, the survey found. Sources familiar with the matter say Iran is reluctant to restrain supply as it wants to recover market share and feels that the economic benefits of lifting sanctions offset the drop in oil prices.

Punitive measures imposed by the United Nations and European Union, and some but not all U.S. sanctions, were lifted on Jan. 16 in return for steps by Iran to scale down its nuclear programme under an agreement it struck with world powers last year.


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