Iran optimistic oil prices can rise

TEHRAN, Iran (AP) " Iran's oil minister said Saturday that $55 per barrel is achievable for crude if both OPEC and non-OPEC producers cooperate, state media reported.

Bijan Zanganeh said on state TV, "If non-OPEC (producers) cooperate, I think we can reach around $55," per barrel.

Benchmark Brent crude rose to $46.86 per barrel on Friday.

Without naming any country, Zangeneh said other producers should make more of an effort to reach a better price. "Those countries that have had more production in recent years, have more responsibility in improving the market," the official IRNA news agency reported.

He pointed to low oil prices affecting investment in oil industries, saying "All are worried about decling investment in the oil industry in recent years, a trend that that will have negative repercussions on the oil market in coming years."

Speaking after a meeting with visiting OPEC Secretary-General Mohammad Sanusi Barkindo, Zanganeh reiterated that his country will push for more production.

"We have expressed our views; we will not withdraw from our share," said Zanganeh. He added that OPEC members can reach a deal on production levels as well.

"Signals I am receiving are increasing the possibility of reaching an agreement," said Zanganeh, referring to the upcoming OPEC meeting later this month.

Iran has been trying to increase its production after the lifting of international sanctions over its nuclear program in January, and said it would only consider a ceiling once it resumes producing its pre-sanctions volume of 4 million barrels per day. It currently produces 3.85 million.

This story has been automatically published from the Associated Press wire which uses US spellings

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