Iran's Growing Oil Production: A New Threat To OPEC's Market Grip

Iran’s ramp up, which is already ongoing, runs counter to Saudi Arabia’s agenda, and puts the organization at real risk that other members will need to cut production as Iran ramps up.
  • Despite sanctions on its oil industry, Iran's monthly production is gradually increasing, posing a growing challenge for OPEC's control over the oil market.
  • Anticipated talks of a new nuclear deal leading to an influx of Iranian oil into the market often create market instability, though such a deal hasn't materialized and a sudden flood of oil is unlikely.
  • As Iran has the potential to produce another million barrels per day, its ongoing production increase, especially if sanctions are lifted, could conflict with OPEC's and specifically Saudi Arabia's efforts to regulate the market and maintain high oil prices.
Iran's Growing Oil Production: A New Threat To OPEC's Market Grip

Reports of Iran/U.S. talks have surfaced repeatedly over the last couple of years, spooking the markets each time it’s suggested that Iran’s oil could return to the market. But Iran’s crude oil does add a mystery element to the oil markets that transcends demand forecasts.

Traders and oil bulls are not the only ones that should be concerned about the possibility that talk of Iran’s oil coming back into the market could send oil prices well below comfort levels. OPEC surely has some level of anxiety over the possibility that Iran’s oil will return to the market and disrupt the group’s influence over the oil markets. 

Iran has been exempt from OPEC’s production cuts for years after the group took pity on the sanctioned nation. OPEC reports on Iran’s production monthly in its Monthly Oil Market Report (MOMR), but it is hard to say with any certainty that these figures are accurate. 

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