TEHRAN (Iran News) – Iran’s oil minister, Bijan Zanganeh said on Monday it was difficult to forecast crude prices amid uncertainties over prospects for demand, Iranian state radio reported.
“No one can predict crude prices, and now the demand is vague,” Bijan Namdar Zanganeh told state radio, reported Reuters.
Oil prices rose on Monday, reversing earlier losses, as countries around the world continued to ease lockdown measures imposed to combat the coronavirus pandemic.
Amid quiet trading, with financial centers Singapore, London and New York all closed for holidays, Brent was up 11 cents, or 0.3 percent, at $35.24 a barrel by 0855 GMT. US oil had gained 36 cents, or 1.1 percent, at $33.61 a barrel.
“It is not clear when the world economy will recover and when the demand will return to normal. The world’s largest economies are growing negatively, reducing demand for petroleum products and, consequently, crude oil,” Zanganeh said.
Zanganeh also said Turkey had “not welcomed” Iran’s offer to repair a natural gas pipeline inside Turkey, which carries around 10 billion cubic meters of Iranian gas to Turkey annually. The pipeline was damaged by a blast in March and halted Tehran’s natural gas flow to Turkey.
“Because of the explosion our gas exports to this country have been cut off. Although it takes not more than a few days to repair the pipeline, the Turkish side has not yet repaired it,” Zanganeh said.
Meanwhile, Iranian caretaker OPEC governor Amir Hossein Zamaninia said US sanctions on Iran’s oil industry have created an opportunity for the country to distance itself from routine crude incomes.
The Iranian deputy oil minister, who took over his acting role after former Iranian OPEC governor Hossein Kazempour died earlier this month, said Iran would be totally free of reliance on oil revenues in the next five to 10 years.
“At the end of the day, it seems that in 5-10 years, Iran will find itself in a state where it will not much need its oil income,” said Zamaninia in an interview with energy website Platts.
The Iranian diplomat admitted that illegal US sanctions have made it difficult for Iran to find customers for its oil shipments. However, he said the bans have forced Iran to adjust itself to a new economic situation.
“[The sanctions], however, have had a silver lining for the Iranian economy that is facing many challenges. It is gradually causing a structural adjustment to leaning less on oil income,” said Zamaninia.
The comments come against the backdrop of other reports and analyses suggesting that Iran is trying to diversify its economy away from oil by introducing measures that could strengthen sectors like agriculture and manufacturing.
Exports of non-oil goods and services from Iran have soared over the past two years while the country has significantly increased its capacity for processing and exports of various petrochemical products.
On choosing a new Iranian governor for the Organization of Petroleum Exporting Countries, Zamaninia said Iran has seven, eight candidates, both inside and outside of the oil industry. He said the next governor could be someone from Iran’s Foreign Ministry.
- source : Iran Daily, Irannews