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Oil Market Over-supplied By Three Million Barrels A Day: Iran

VIENNA, Sept 14 (AFP) - The oil market is over-supplied by three million barrels per day, Iranian Oil Minister Bijan Namdar Zangeneh said here on Tuesday on the eve of an OPEC meeting.

"There is an over-supply in the market of three million barrels" a day, the minister told AFP.

Zangeneh said high oil prices were therefore not the result of a shortage on the market, and blamed political tensions and unrest, particularly in the Middle East, for the price spike.

"I think ... consumers do not have a shortage and we have enough oil in the market without any difficulty. OPEC has done everything it could.

"The main reason for high prices is mainly political and geopolitical tensions, especially in the Middle East," he said.

Asked whether OPEC should increase its official quota of 26 million barrels per day (mbp) to match actual output, which is widely seen to be at least 2 mbp higher, Zangeneh said: "Twenty-eight is so much (too) high."

"We had to consult with other ministers. We need time to exchange the views and make a decision," he said.

Most ministers gathered here have signalled that they oppose raising the quota to match actual output, notably Saudi Arabian Oil Minister Ali al-Nuaimi.

He told reporters such a step would make little impact on the market as it was well supplied.

Venezuela, Libya and Qatar have followed the lead of the OPEC kingpin, all arguing against an adjustment.

Iraq's vulnerable oil installations suffered another blow on Tuesday as insurgents sabotaged a key pipeline, halting oil exports from northern Iraq to Turkey, while a second act of sabotage slashed power in Kirkuk and Baiji.

Along with fears of supply disruptions due to Hurricane Ivan, this pushed prices up again.

The price of benchmark Brent North Sea crude oil for delivery in October went up 81 cents to 41.87 dollars a barrel in late afternoon deals in London.

In New York the price of light sweet crude rose 78 cents to 44.65 dollars.
AFP- 149
Copyright 2004 Agence France Presse. All rights reserved. The information contained in the AFP News report may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed without the prior written authority of Agence France Presse.

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