US should stop interfering in OPEC affairs: Iran petroleum minister Zanganeh

File photo of Organization of the Petroleum Exporting Countries (OPEC). Photograph:( WION )

Reuters Vienna, Austria Dec 07, 2018, 03.33 PM (IST)

Iran's Petroleum Minister Bijan Namdar Zanganeh said on Thursday that the US should stop interfering in affairs of the Organization of the Petroleum Exporting Countries (OPEC) while attending an OPEC meeting.

There are analyses saying that close ties with the US is one reason for Qatar to quit the OPEC. On Monday, Qatar announced to withdraw from the OPEC since January 2019.

Saad Sherida Al-Kaabi, Minister of Energy and Industry of Qatar, said the country decided to withdraw because it wanted to focus on gas.

"We withdrew because strategically we want to focus on gas. We are the biggest energy exporter in the world and we want to focus on gas. Oil for us is a very small production. We produce 600,000 barrels a day approximately, and we don't see there's a value for us to stay in OPEC further, because we are a small player and it doesn't fit our strategy," he said.

Iran's petroleum minister said attempts of the US to change OPEC decisions are unacceptable to major members.

"Brian Hook, I don't know what he is doing in Vienna if the United States is here to submit his proposal to join OPEC, putting pressure on some OPEC members. How to decide? It's very bad for OPEC, it's unacceptable for OPEC and major members of OPEC," said Zangeneh.

US President Donald Trump pulled the United States out of the landmark 2015 Iranian nuclear deal in May and re-imposed comprehensive sanctions on Tehran, including the country's oil exports and financial sectors.

Zanganeh said Iran will not be a part of any agreement by the OPEC over quota reduction as long as it is the target of U.S. sanctions.

"No doubt that they're going to create difficulty for our revenue, for our export. Resisting is clear and it's not a simple issue for us to accept it and to go along with it. We are resisting, we are trying to preserve the level of our production, especially the level of our export," said Zanganeh.

Oil prices extended much losses on Thursday, as OPEC wrapped up a much-anticipated meeting with no decision on the level of potential output cut.

The Saudi-led oil cartel and its allies held a meeting at its headquarters in Vienna, Austria on Thursday to wrestle with the falling oil prices, amid broad market expectations that it would reach an oil reduction deal.

Story highlights

Iran's Petroleum Minister Bijan Namdar Zanganeh said that the US should stop interfering in affairs of the Organization of the Petroleum Exporting Countries (OPEC) while attending an OPEC meeting.