DUBAI (Reuters) - Iran expects its oil production to reach 4 million barrels per day by mid-April, and plans to drill 500 new wells over the next five years to raise output to 4.7 million bpd, a senior oil official was quoted as saying on Saturday.
Iran said in January its daily output was close to 3.9 million barrels.
"We were due to reach 4 million barrels ...by the end of the (Iranian) year (March 20). This will be realized with a one-month delay," said Ali Kardor, head of the state-run National Iranian Oil Company (NIOC), quoted by the Iranian Students' News Agency (ISNA).
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"Of course, Iran’s crude oil production reached 4.2 million barrels at a certain stage, but later fell," he added, without giving further details.
Kardor said Iran’s next five-year plan which starts in March predicted the drilling of 500 new wells, the oil ministry’s news website SHANA reported.
“This will be needed in order to reach a production of 4.7 million bpd,” SHANA quoted Kardor as saying.
Under a deal agreed to cut production by the Organization of the Petroleum Exporting Countries in December, Iran was allowed to boost output slightly from its October level. Tehran has long argued it needs to regain market share lost under Western sanctions.
(Reporting by Dubai newsroom; editing by Sami Aboudi and Adrian Croft)