DUBAI (Reuters) - OPEC’s decision to retain its production ceiling is not beneficial to all OPEC member states, but Iran has refrained from protesting to maintain group solidarity, Iranian oil ministry news agency Shana reported the oil minister as saying.
“I don’t think that this decision is beneficial to all OPEC member countries because some countries in OPEC were against this decision,” Shana quoted oil minister Bijan Zanganeh as saying, citing an interview he gave to CNN.
“But because of the unity and solidarity of OPEC, we decided not to protest against this decision.”
Iran has said the steep fall in oil prices this year is the result of deliberate moves by some exporters around the Persian Gulf, which have kept production high to undermine Tehran’s sanctions-hit economy.
On Thursday, Saudi Arabia’s oil minister told fellow OPEC members they must combat the U.S. shale oil boom, arguing against cutting crude output in order to depress prices and undermine the profitability of North American producers.
The energy minister of the United Arab Emirates, Iran’s neighboring OPEC member, voiced support for the OPEC decision.
“We don’t support being a swing producer whenever the price falls; the decision benefits the market, the customers and the world economy,” Suhail bin Mohammed al-Mazroui said on his twitter feed on Saturday.
“OPEC countries will compensate any decline in the world supply as we are the most cost-effective producers compared to unconventional,” Mazroui said, echoing Saudi’s position.
Oil hit a fresh four-year low beneath $70 per barrel on Friday [O/R]. A boom in shale oil production and weaker growth in China and Europe have sent prices down by over a third since June.
“The market will dictate the right sustainable and stable price ... We need to allow enough time for market stability,” Mazroui added.
Reporting By Michelle Moghtader and Rania El Gamal; editing by Jane Baird