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Saudi, UAE overstate their oil capacities: Iran oil minister

April 26, 2019

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This file photo shows Iran's Oil Minister Bijan Zanganeh talking to journalists at the beginning of an OPEC meeting in Vienna, Austria. — Reuters
This file photo shows Iran's Oil Minister Bijan Zanganeh talking to journalists at the beginning of an OPEC meeting in Vienna, Austria. — Reuters

Iranian Oil Minister Bijan Zanganeh said Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates (UAE) overstate their oil capacities, Iran's state news agency IRNA reported on Friday.

The comments were in reaction to expectations the two countries would fill any supply gap caused by a tightening of the United States sanctions on Iran.

Read more: US not even hiding its desire to make the world bend to its will: Russia

Washington has decided not to renew its exemptions from US sanctions to buyers of Iranian oil. A senior US administration official had said on Monday that US President Donald Trump was confident Saudi Arabia and the UAE would fill any gap left in the oil market.

“The US behaviour and oil sanctions are not a bluff, but (the result of) very violent hostility towards the Iranian nation,” Zanganeh was quoted by IRNA as saying.

“I believe they (Saudi Arabia and the UAE) are overstating their oil capacities,” Zanganeh said.

Saudi Arabia's energy minister said on Wednesday he saw no need to raise oil output immediately after the United States ends its waivers, but added that the kingdom would respond to customers' needs if asked for more oil.

The kingdom's exports in April will be below 7 million barrels per day (bpd), while production is around 9.8 million bpd, Saudi officials have said. Under the OPEC-led deal on supply cuts, Saudi Arabia can pump up to 10.3m bpd.

“There is roughly a million barrels per day of Iranian crude (exports) left, and there is plenty of supply in the market to ease that transition and maintain stable prices, Brian Hook, US special representative for Iran, had said on Thursday.