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Iran, A Major Player In The Global Oil Market

by Staff Writers
Paris (AFP) Jan 26, 2006
Iran, which faces the threat of UN sanctions over its nuclear policy, produces far less oil than it used to but, bouyed by the stubbornly high price of the barrel, remains a key player in world oil markets.

It is an influential member of the Organisation of Petroleum Exporting Countries and is the cartel's number-two producer behind Saudi Arabia.

Global consumption was 84 million barrels per day in 2005 and of that Iran produced 4.2 million bpd, slightly more than the quota OPEC set it of 4.11 million bpd, according to the US governmental Energy Information Administration.

The Islamic republic exported 2.7 million bpd last year to Asian states such as Japan, China, South Korea, Taiwan and to Europe.

Domestic consumption in Iran, currently at 1.5 million bpd, is rising rapidly in line with growth in the country's economy and in its population, which currently stands at 70 million.

The Islamic republic has proven reserves of 125.8 billion barrels, about 10 percent of the world total, as well as 15 percent of the global total of proven gas reserves.

In the 1970s Iranian oil production reached six million bpd.

Analysts believe it could again grow -- which the Iranain government wants -- if there is investment in the sector, especially from foreign investors.

But President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad's recent problems in appointing an oil minister -- the oil sector brings in 80 percent of Iran's hard currency earnings -- and doubts about the type of contracts foreign investors might be given, have created an atmopshere of uncertainty.

That uncertainty is heightened by lack of agreement between Iran and the other countries that lie on the shores of the oil-rich Caspian Sea over how to share out the resources.

The country's nuclear programme is also clouding the picture. The UN's nuclear watchdog is to covene next week to decide whether to refer Iran to the UN Security Council for possible sanctions.

Iran insists its nuclear activites are entirely peaceful but Western countries suspect they are a clandestine nuclear weapons project.

Source: Agence France-Presse

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Iran: To Shove Or To Nudge To Compliance
Washington (UPI) Jan 25, 2006
While U.S. senators introduce the possibility of military action against Iraq, Western diplomats are banking on the threat of sanctions to convince Tehran to abandon its uranium enrichment program.

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