Iran to back OPEC output cut
Monday, 25 February 2008

Agence France-Presse . Tehran

Iran's oil minister Gholam Hossein Nozari said on Saturday that Tehran would back a plan to cut oil production at next month's OPEC meeting, the oil ministry news agency Shana said.

'Iran will support the policy of a production cut at the next OPEC meeting' due to be held on March 5 in Vienna, he said.

'There has been always a periodic cut in the second quarter of the year, and it is predicted that OPEC will decrease its production at the next meeting.' Iran is OPEC's number-two oil producer and exporter.

OPEC earlier this month at an extraordinary meeting left its official daily output ceiling at 29.67 million barrels despite US calls for an output increase to reduce high oil prices that Western countries fear will stunt economic growth and fuel inflation.

US president George W Bush had personally called on the Organisation of Petroleum Eexporting Countries and its kingpin Saudi Arabia to hike output in response to the continued strength in prices.

The current OPEC president, Chekib Khelil of Algeria, said in February that the cartel would not approve an increase in output at its next ministerial meeting. OPEC's basket price of crude oil, based on production in 12 different countries, has reached a new record of 94.23 dollars, (63.52 euros) the cartel said on Thursday.

In its February report, the organisation lowered its projections for a growth in oil demand this year in response to a slowdown in world economic momentum.

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