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Even if it hits $25-a-barrel, Iran’s not sweating falling oil


Published: Jan 20, 2015 10:24 a.m. ET

$50 may be the new ceiling for oil, says research group

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Iran, for one, isn’t worried about oil prices.



MADRID (MarketWatch) — Do I hear $25-a-barrel oil?

Iran’s oil Minister Bijan Namdar Zanganeh hinted at even lower prices for crude as he declared his well positioned for plunging crude oil prices.

“If the oil prices drop to $25 a barrel, there will yet again be no threat posed to Iran’s oil industry,” said Zanganeh at a conference in Tehran on Monday, Bloomberg reported.

 That means the country should be sitting pretty as the Organization for Petroleum Exporting Countries, sticks to its guns on production cuts.

But Zanganeh also predicted that OPEC and non-OPEC countries will eventually “cooperate to restore balance to the oil market.” 

Wishful thinking perhaps in a situation where the market only reads: too much supply, not enough demand. On Sunday, his Iraq counterpart, Adel Abdul-Mehdi, said his country pumped out a record four million barrels per day of oil in December.

A barrel of U.S. crude on the March forward contract CLH5, +0.77% dropped over 3% on Monday, also deflated by news that China’s economy grew last year at the slowest pace in a decade.

Recently, billionaire Saudi businessman Prince Alwaleed bin Talal, said the market can kiss $100-a-barrel oil goodbye forever. “I said a year ago [that] the price of oil above $100 is artificial,” Alwaleed said. “It’s not correct.”

See: Oil above $100? Never again, says Saudi Prince Alwaleed

Over at Project Syndicate  last week, Anatole Kaletsky, a former Times of London columnist said $50 oil should really be the ceiling for a much lower price range, which could drop all the way down to $20 a barrel. 

“As it happens, estimates of shale-oil production costs are mostly around $50, while marginal conventional oilfields generally break even at around $20. Thus, the trading range in the brave new world of competitive oil should be roughly $20 to $50,” said Kaletsky, chief economist and co-chairman of Gavekal Dragonomics.

His chart below lays out the history of inflation-adjusted oil prices since 1974, when OPEC first emerged:

CEIC//GaveKal data

The real price of oil

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