US oil production must be known before OPEC+ call, says Iran

TEHRAN, Iran (AP) – Iran demanded yesterday that United States (US) oil production levels must be known before an upcoming OPEC meeting with Russia and others seeking to boost global energy prices.

The meeting of the so-called OPEC+ is scheduled to be held today after officials delayed it following Saudi Arabia criticising Russia over its comments about the price collapse.

A meeting in March saw OPEC and other nations led by Russia fail to agree to a production cut as the ongoing coronavirus pandemic has drastically cut demand for oil. In the time since, prices have collapsed. International benchmark Brent crude traded yesterday over USD34 a barrel as US benchmark West Texas crude traded under USD25.

Iranian state television quoted Oil Minister Bijan Zabganeh as saying he discussed the “method of decision-making” for the meeting today with OPEC’s president, as well as his Kuwaiti and Russian counterparts.

“Other producers, including the US and Canada, should participate in this topic and there should be an agreement about production base of each country that is a basis for production cut,” Zanganeh was quoted as saying.

The US and Canada are not part of OPEC. However, US officials have been in discussions with other oil producers over the price collapse, which has hurt American shale oil firms.

Iran, a founding member of OPEC, faces its own challenge as US sanctions bar it from selling its crude oil abroad since President Donald Trump unilaterally withdrew America from Tehran’s nuclear deal with world powers.