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Tue 1 May 2007 03:33 PM

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Iran's $54bn oil output to rise

The country's crude production will definitely rise this year, says senior official.

Iran's oil income reached $54 billion last year and the country's crude production will definitely rise this year, a senior official was quoted as saying on Tuesday by the Oil Ministry's web site Shana.

Gholamhossein Nozari, managing director of the National Iranian Oil Company (NIOC), referring to the Iranian year, which ends on March 20.

"Iran's oil income last year was about $54 billion and oil production in the new year will definitely increase," he said.

Nozari said oil production had increased by more than 50,000 barrels during the Iranian month of Farvardin, which runs from March 21 to April 20, apparently referring to barrels per day (bpd).

Last month, Nozari said Iran's oil output was around 4 million bpd and that capacity stood at 4.26 million bpd but that it planned to boost crude output capacity to 5.3 million by 2015.

Iran - which sits atop the world's second largest gas and oil reserves - is trying to lure international oil and gas companies to invest despite rising pressure from the United States and the United Nations over its nuclear programme.

Nozari's estimate of last year's oil income was higher than a figure of $51.3 billion given by Oil Minister Kazem Vaziri-Hamaneh on Monday. The minister was quoted by the Kargozaran daily as saying this represented an increase of $7.4 billion compared with the previous year.

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