ABU DHABI — Production cutbacks by two OPEC members should restore oil prices to the $18-a-barrel benchmark within days, Iranian Oil Minister Gholamreza Aghazadeh said today.
Speaking to reporters at the end of a two-day visit to the United Arab Emirates, he said production cuts by the United Arab Emirates and Kuwait will drive the prices up before the next OPEC meeting in Geneva on July 25.
At the meeting, Iran will request that the benchmark price be increased by $2 a barrel to $20, the minister said.
Aghazadeh's remarks reflect confidence that OPEC members would refrain from pumping too much oil, which depresses prices. Oil produced by members of the Organization of Petroleum Exporting Countries was selling recently for $14 a barrel.
News of the planned production cutbacks surfaced in Saudi Arabia Thursday night. Saudi Arabian Oil Minister Hisham Nazir described the moves as a "historic crossroads" for the 13-member cartel.
He said the decisions followed high-level contacts between King Fahd and U.A.E. President Sheik Zayed ibn Sultan al Nuhayan.