Iran: Oil output hikes won't ease price pressures

Last Updated: Sat, Mar 19, 2011 09:50 hrs

Iran's oil minister said on Saturday any output increase by individual OPEC members aimed at reducing oil price pressures caused by the Libyan crisis would not have the desired effect.

Iran, a price hawk which holds the rotating presidency of the oil producers' group, is against any output increase. Oil Minister Massoud Mirkazemi urged OPEC members to exercise restraint, saying any output changes should be made only after the body has unanimously agreed to them.

"Some countries have announced they would increase production because of the political crisis that has been created in the region and in North Africa and cut Libya's oil (output)," he told state radio.

"Iran as the head of OPEC announced this cannot have any effect in the market.

"They should make a unanimous decision in OPEC, and for sure increasing production will just increase paperwork and it will increase global crude reserves and have no effect on prices."

Some members of the Organization of the Petroleum Exporting Countries formally eased output restraints to accommodate the loss of exports from Libya, where conflict between the government and rebels has interrupted supply.

U.S. crude futures were at $101.07 a barrel on Friday, off a high of $103.66, after Libya declared a ceasefire.

Mirkazemi reiterated Iran's position that there was no need for OPEC to hold a special meeting to address the oil price.

"With the current situation, there is no need for an extraordinary meeting. It is not in the interests of producer countries," he said.

(Reporting by Mitra Amiri; Writing by Robin Pomeroy, editing by Jane Baird)

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