Iran says US oil production must be known before OPEC+ call

NASSER KARIMI
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Virus Outbreak Ohio Oil

Heatherlee Madden puts the nozzle back after getting gas for 98.9 cents a gallon, Monday, March 30, 2020, in Cleveland. Oil started the year above $60 and has plunged on expectations that a weakened economy will burn less fuel. The world is awash in oil, meanwhile, as producers continue to pull more of it out of the ground. (AP Photo/Tony Dejak)

TEHRAN, Iran (AP) — Iran demanded on Wednesday that U.S. oil production levels must be known before an upcoming OPEC meeting with Russia and others seeking to boost global energy prices.

The meeting of the so-called OPEC+ is scheduled to be held Thursday after officials delayed it following Saudi Arabia criticizing Russia over its comments about the price collapse.

A meeting in March saw OPEC and other nations led by Russia fail to agree to a production cut as the ongoing coronavirus pandemic has drastically cut demand for oil. In the time since, prices have collapsed. International benchmark Brent crude traded Wednesday over $34 a barrel as U.S. benchmark West Texas crude traded under $25.

Iranian state television quoted Oil Minister Bijan Zabganeh as saying he discussed the “method of decision-making” for the meeting Thursday with OPEC's president, as well as his Kuwaiti and Russian counterparts.

“Other producers, including the U.S. and Canada, should participate in this topic and there should be an agreement about production base of each country that is a basis for production cut,” Zanganeh was quoted as saying.

The U.S. and Canada are not part of OPEC. However, U.S. officials have been in discussions with other oil producers over the price collapse, which has hurt American shale oil firms.

Iran, a founding member of OPEC, faces its own challenge as U.S. sanctions bar it from selling its crude oil abroad since President Donald Trump unilaterally withdrew America from Tehran's nuclear deal with world powers.

Russia's Energy Ministry said Wednesday it is prepared to cut production by 1.6 million barrels a day, about 14% of its overall production, under an OPEC+ deal, state news agency Tass reported.