Iran looks to increase crude output to pre-sanctions levels

Iran looks to increase crude output to pre-sanctions levels
Oil production in Iran will reach nearly four million barrels per day (bpd) by the end of the year, according to Deputy Oil MinisterAmir Hossein Zamaninia.

After years of international sanctions, the Islamic Republic has increased production to around 3.8 million bpd in recent months.

Tehran has been exempt from the production cut agreement between the Organization of the Petroleum Exporting Countries (OPEC) and some non-OPEC producers.

Saudi Arabia and Russia led the initiative to curb production to prop up crude prices, which have more than halved since 2014.

In May, the participants prolonged the agreement through to March 2018. However, oil prices have slumped since then due to more output in the United States.

Libya and Nigeria, both OPEC members, were also exempted from the agreement. Last week reports the cartel might include output caps on those countries slightly boosted oil futures.

After lifting the decades-long international sanctions, Iran has been trying to boost oil production to regain much of its lost market share.

Oil prices gained on Wednesday on the reported fall in American fuel inventories. The US government cut its forecast for crude output next year, raising hopes for an easing in the oversupply.

Brent crude was trading above $48 per barrel, with US benchmark West Texas Intermediate hovering below $46.