Tehran: Iran's oil minister has named an industry veteran to head the state National Iranian Oil Company (NIOC), tasking him with boosting capacity in the country, the oil ministry's website said on Sunday.

Oil minister Gholamhossein Nozari, who himself held the NIOC top job until he became minister last year, appointed Seifollah Jashnsaz as managing director of Iran's main oil company.


Jashnsaz, with 20 years' experience in various positions in Iran's oil sector, was previously managing director of the National Iranian South Oil Company, a NIOC subsidiary.

In the appointment decree, Nozari asked him to "safeguard oil and gas reserves as national wealth, raising the productivity of reserves, raising production capacity, expediting oil and gas development projects, especially in jointly owned fields".

Iran, the world's fourth-largest crude producer, now has output of around four million barrels per day and aims to reach a capacity of 5.6 million bpd in seven years.

But analysts say productivity has suffered from lack of investment, partly caused by US sanctions imposed after the 1979 revolution, and that it needs big foreign capital inflows and expertise in order to meet output targets.

Iran also has around 20 oil and natural gas fields that it holds jointly with neighbouring countries and the development of these fields has been a focal point of the country's oil industry.