Stories

Ben Geman Apr 14, 2017
SaveSave story

Saudi Aramco CEO’s Iranian brushback

Hasan Jamali / AP

Because of its rare capacity to add a lot of new oil onto the global market, Iran has emerged as one of the most disruptive forces in OPEC. Which is probably what got into the craw of the CEO of Saudi Arabia's state-owned oil giant today. Asked whether Iran will be his biggest competition, Amin H. Nasser was withering.

Quote"Who?," said Nasser, drawing laughter at a Columbia University energy conference on Friday.

Why this matters: Iran has raised its oil production by about 1 million barrels a day — to roughly 4 million — since oil sanctions were lifted in January of 2016 as part of a nuclear research accord with the West. It remains far below the approximately 10 million barrels a day produced by Saudi Arabia, OPEC's dominant producer. But price is determined at the margin — when a player like Iran or the US shale oil patch adds a few hundred thousand barrels a day to the market, it can send oil prices plunging.