World markets need Iran’s oil and gas supplies this winter, oil minister Javad Owji said Thursday, as diplomats gathered in Vienna for talks on Tehran’s nuclear program.
The government news website IRNA reported that on the sidelines of an OPEC+ meeting, Owji said, “This winter is very important for Europe and the world” and they should make plans.
The United States imposed third-party sanctions on Iranian oil exports in 2018 after former President Donald Trump withdrew from the 2015 nuclear deal known as the JCPOA and launched a ‘maximum pressure’ campaign. Talks since April 2021 to revive the agreement have remained unsuccessful.
Iran’s oil exports dropped to under 300,000 barrels per day in 2019 because of the sanctions, but after nuclear talks started, it increased shipment to as high as one million bpd. Tehran has the capacity to sell more than 2 million bpd if a nuclear deal is achieved and US sanctions lifted.
But Iran cannot contribute much to the natural gas market although it has the second largest reserves in the world. Lack of technology investments has seen production falling, while its domestic consumption has risen. If most sanctions are lifted and Iran is able to find Western partners it can increase production in the future.
Owji said that the return of Iran’s oil to world markets is important and reiterated Iran’s position against energy sanctions. However, Iran has expanded its nuclear program and says it has the capability to produce weapons.