Bijan Namdar Zanganeh, a former Iranian oil minister who has been nominated by President Hassan Rouhani to take over the ministry again, pledged to boost Iran’s oil output should he be approved by the parliament. “My first action will be to bring the country’s oil production capacity back to 2005” levels, Zanganeh was quoted as telling Shana, the Oil Ministry’s news website. At that time Iran wasn’t subject to United Nations, U.S. and EU sanctions against its nuclear program. The measures, imposed during ex-President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad’s time in office, have restricted international companies’ ties with Iran and its crude exports.
Rouhani, who was inaugurated this month to succeed Ahmadinejad, has pledged to work toward easing sanctions. Parliament is set to review the qualifications of his proposed ministers this week.
Iran, once the second-largest oil producer in the Organization of Petroleum Exporting Countries after Saudi Arabia, has slipped to sixth place, producing 2.56 million barrels a day in July, according to data compiled by Bloomberg. The country produced about 4 million barrels a day in 2005, according to Bloomberg.
“I don’t mean output should be immediately returned to its past level because it may not be possible due to sanctions,” Zanganeh said. “But stable production capacity should be created so that we will be able under any circumstances to benefit from oil for our domestic needs.”
Zanganeh served as oil minister from 1997-2005 and prior to that was energy minister for nine years, Shana said.