U.S. CAN INVEST
U.S. companies are welcome to invest in Iran's oil and gas industry, the Iranian oil minister said on Sunday.
State-run Press TV quoted Bijan Namdar Zangeneh as saying that "in general, we have no problem with the presence of American companies in Iran."
He said it is the U.S. government that is "creating restrictions for these companies," without elaborating. Zangeneh also confirmed that Iran's state-run oil company has held talks with General Electric.
"Of course, my deputy conducted these negotiations and when I inquired about them, it was said that the talks were positive," he said.
The TV report said Zangeneh also asked Siemens executives to invest in Iran's oil and gas industry.
"The German company must come to Iran to build equipment and parts needed in our oil industry and manufacture them here," he said.
All sanctions related to Iran's nuclear program were lifted in January under a landmark agreement reached with world powers, but the U.S. maintains separate sanctions related to Iran's ballistic missile program and its support for State Department-designated terrorist groups.
Iran is trying to regain its share of the global petroleum market after the removal of sanctions.
Saudi Arabia, Russia, Venezuela and Qatar floated the idea of a production cap last month with the aim of boosting global oil prices, but it was conditional on other producers joining in. Iran, which is eager to jumpstart its oil industry, has so far resisted.
Zangeneh dismissed the idea of a production freeze by Iran as "a joke", according to the TV report. He said Iran will take part in discussions on a possible oil production freeze after its output reaches 4 million barrels per day.
"As long as we have not reached 4 million bpd in production, they should leave us alone," Zangeneh said.
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REUTERS - Brent crude futures LCOc1 were down 72 cents at $61.49 per barrel at 1020 GMT, having fallen by 1.5 percent on Tuesday, its largest one-day drop in a month. U.S. West Texas Intermediate (WTI) crude CLc1 was at $55.12 per barrel, down 58 cents.
BLOOMBERG - Prices dropped during the session as the International Energy Agency said the recent recovery in oil prices, coupled with milder-than-normal winter weather, is slowing demand growth. The worsening outlook for consumption dampened some of the enthusiasm that OPEC and its allies will extend supply curbs.
Global energy needs rise more slowly than in the past but still expand by 30% between today and 2040. This is the equivalent of adding another China and India to today’s global demand.
Product exports have grown significantly over the past several years and are expected to continue to grow as Russian refineries add capacity to produce more high-quality products.