Iran seeks higher oil output capacity for more influence in OPEC: minister

Tehran (Platts)--19 Aug 2013 859 am EDT/1259 GMT

Oil Minister Bijan Zanganeh has said his ministry aims to raise Iranian oil production capacity as quickly as possible to 4.2 million b/d to give Iran more leverage within producer organization OPEC, local media reported Monday.

The newly appointed minister also stressed that capacity was a greater priority for him than actual production.

"The enhancement of Iran's oil production capacity will result in increasing Iran's negotiating power in the international community and OPEC,' Zanganeh was quoted as saying by oil ministry news service Shana.

"Therefore oil production capacity must be increased to over 4 million b/d through sustainable methods in the shortest time possible," he said.

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The new oil minister has said he will restore Iran's 2005 capacity of 4.2 million b/d of crude oil.

Zanganeh also said he would focus on exporting more oil.

"I held a meeting with the relevant officials and colleagues to discuss an increase in oil exports. Also, in order to secure the consistency of oil sales, some agreements were made on my first day at work," Zanganeh was quoted as saying Sunday by the official IRNA news agency.

"And decisions were made about some foreign oil contracts with which there are problems," he said, without elaborating.

Zanganeh, who was an oil minister from 1997 to 2005 under reformist president Mohammad Khatami, has started his job with a number of shakeups within the ministry.

"We carried out some necessary changes to start work and I will make myself more familiar with existing colleagues and further changes will come within the next week or two," Zanganeh said.

"Given the prevailing conditions, we should plan new strategies to achieve good oil sales. We must also find new markets and customers and negotiate with the existing ones to enhance their satisfaction," he added.

Zanganeh has appointed Mansour Moazami as caretaker deputy minister for international and commercial affairs, replacing Ahmad Khaledi.

Moazami has held senior positions in the National Iranian Gas Company and National Petrochemical Company. Before his new job, he was deputy oil minister for human resources and management affairs.

As part of the reshuffle, Mohsen Paknejad was appointed caretaker head of the bureau for the supervision of exports and trade in oil materials.

Paknejad has been the general director of the bureau in the past. Among other senior posts, he was deputy director of the National Iranian Oil Company's corporate planning department from 2007 until now.

--Aresu Eqbali,
--Edited by Jonathan Dart,

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