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A Look at Impact of Oil & JCPOA on the Eve of OPEC Session

Cooperation & Perseverance: Two Wings of Iranian Petrol

(Wednesday, November 30, 2016) 15:56

TEHRAN, Nov. 30 (Shana) – Minister of Petroleum Bijan Zangeneh has taken part in the 171st Ordinary OPEC Meeting which has just started in Vienna. It is the most important OPEC session in the past 40 years.

It is also important with respect to the post-JCPOA Iran and its improving economy. Certain regional states are not pleased with such a rosy economy Iran is now possessing. The states try to misportray the achievements of the country, including its JCPOA success, trying to politicize them through raising Iranphobia publicity. 

Perhaps Iranphobia worked well prior to sanctions unfairly, making the world and the region terrified of Iran; however, after the JCPOA, the Iranphobia has lost its importance and it seems that any effort to bring back such a condition has been futile. This has hence stifled many.  

The petroleum industry is the fundamental pillar of Iranian economy and the country can benefit the most from the industry in the post-JCPOA era. According to wise economic and international relations experts, had has afforded a great deal of contribution to the JCPOA influential role. 

Oil Miracle 

Addressing ceremony, marking inauguration of projects for development of oil fields west of Karoon River in Khouzestan Province, President Hassan Rouhani announced on November 13 that oil industry's swift return to the pre-sanction status, has shocked the world. 

President Rouhani said the petroleum industry is an industry pioneering exploitation of the post-JCPOA opportunities. 

He added that using the world's huge asset and precise technology is a must in the post-JCPOA era. "Iranian people should benefit from the post-JCPOA atmosphere to attract technology and capital for development of the country and youth employment."  

Elsewhere in his address, President Rouhani said Foreign Ministry, the Atomic Energy Organization of Iran (AEOI), the Secretariat of the Supreme National Security Council of Iran (SNSCI), the guidelines of the Supreme Leader of Islamic Revolution Ayatollah Seyed Ali Khamenei and the great Iranian nation as well as the Guardian Council shouldered the big burden to implement the JCPOA. "The Ministry of Petroleum was the organ which assumed the role in the next juncture and phase."

President noted, "In the world, no one knew that within a short period of time, the noble staff and directors of the Petroleum Industry managed to bring back conditions to the pre-sanction era. Ministry of Petroleum made maximum use of the post-JCPOA era."

Oil's Life Giving Role 

After the president's seal of approval on the strategies and policies of the Ministry of Petroleum, Foreign Minister Mohammad-Javad Zarif sometimes ago referred to Ministry of Petroleum as the factor for enforcement and livelihood of the JCPOA.

In an address to a group of directors and top officials of the Ministry of Petroleum and of Foreign Ministry on November 23, Zarfi said his ministry is prepared to help Ministry of Petroleum pursue its goals.

Zangeneh, noting that Ministry of Petroleum has made maximum use of the JCPOA, said oil has kept the JCPOA alive.

He added that the post-JCPOA opportunities should not be spoiled. "Ministry of Petroleum showed that the JCPOA is alive and operational."

Minister of Petroleum, Bijan Zangeneh, for his part thanked Ministry of Foreign Affairs for fruition of nuclear talks and said Ministry of Petroleum tried to make maximum use of the JCPOA opportunities. 

Right Oil Strategy

Secretary of the Supreme National Security Council of Iran (SNSCI) Ali Shamkhani has been among others to comment  on the policies and strategies of the Ministry of Petroleum and the JCPOA.

To daily Sharq's question that whether the important decisions Iranian Minister of Petroleum made on the OPEC session had already been discussed in the SNSCI, Shamkhani said, "No such discussion is usually made; There is no need for it either; this is because it is among duties of the Ministry of Petroleum. However, the strategic decision on Enhanced Oil Recovery (EOR) and more share for exports are totally right decisions, which might be tactically borne to economic harms but is strategically right."

To another question that to what extent Iran should raise its production level, Zangeneh said, "It will depend on the extent the market appeals and also it will be subordinate to the output level of the Islamic Republic of Iran prior to sanctions."

Reports indicate that Iran's oil production after the JCPOA rose by more than one million barrels per day and reached four million barrels per day. Also Iran's oil exports has increased up to 2.44 million barrels per day a month from one million barrels per day in the year 1393 (2014-15).

Shamkhani also commented on investment in Iranian petroleum industry and said Iran has been stable and untouched region for development and investment, especially in the field of oil. It has suitable geopolitical condition and enjoys sustainable security compared to the neighbors.

Oil Perseverance

The statements raised over the past two weeks all testify the serious endeavor and solidarity of government and country's top officials in supporting the unjustly denied rights of the Iranian nation. The right for restoration of the pre-sanction output level, is the call of Iranians at large and Ministry of Petroleum is their representative to ask for the restoration. 

Talking to the TV prior to leaving for Vienna, Zageneh said if the OPEC session looks into oil freeze and the business from economic point of view and based on the Algeria accord, soon one will lead to conclusion. 

He said, "I really think that to look into OPEC from the economic and business standpoint and output cut, we can soon reach the conclusion. What decided in Algeria that set the OPEC production ceiling at 32.5 million barrels per day and maximum 33 million barrels per day under emergency condition, we can soon attain the target."

"However, should political wills step in, it will be problematic and any decision making will be difficult. I hope that our Wednesday session will be governed by the same economic spirit and oil will not serve as a political tool so that we will gain good result."

He noted, "It should be noted that in the past years, there were a group of countries that raised their production dramatically, while Iran could not produce due to sanctions as Libya and Nigeria had problems. Now, we are in a stage to manage the market; naturally, those countries should bear the heaviest burden and undertake gravest responsibility."

Now, everyone has pinned hope on the media and on the in-camera discussions of the OPEC ministers of petroleum and energy in Vienna. According to certain energy experts, the meeting is the most important of its kind in the OPEC over the past 40 years. 

The media have covered swiftly a report relating the most immediate comments of Iranian Petroleum Minister upon arrival in Vienna. The message by the leader of Iranian oil industry is concise and short: "We will not change the production level decided in the Algeria."

Zangeneh had after working breakfast in Vienna on Wednesday morning given and interview on oil freeze. He said, "There is no discussion on table on oil freeze."

To another question on likely consensus, he said, "I am also hopeful of agreement."

Also asked whether the proposals Iran had received were acceptable, he said, "Yes."

The 171st OPEC session was held in the OPEC Vienna Headquarters on Wednesday. 

Translated by Behnaz H. Gholipour