Ali Aqamohammadi made the remarks during a ceremony to award enhanced oil recovery (EOR) contracts to major Iranian universities and research centers.
“Oil is set to continue to have a significant position in the economy and the decision is that oil production should reach 8.5 million barrels per day,” said Ali Aqamohammadi, Tasnim News Agency reported.
The comments came as the Iranian Oil Ministry signed 13 EOR contracts worth over €57 million with universities and research centers across Iran.
Aqamohammadi said that the academia in Iran had an acceptable record in the nine previous EOR contracts, adding that universities should become more involved in development projects in the petroleum sector.
Iran has maintained an oil output of around three mbd despite decreased exports as a result of US sanctions that were enacted in November 2018 and toughened in May 2019.
Lower demand for oil because of the global spread of the coronavirus has also failed to dent Iran’s crude production.
Oil Ministry officials have indicated that the country would be able to immediately reach an output of over four mbd to pump oil to foreign customers.
However, major discoveries reported in recent years as well as growing demand for crude in downstream sections of Iran’s massive oil and gas industry means the country needs to significantly increase its production over the next few years.