DUBAI, Jan 18 (Reuters) - Iran has issued an order to increase crude oil production by 500,000 barrels a day, the deputy oil minister was quoted as saying on Monday, implementing its policy to boost production as soon as sanctions were lifted.
Oil prices hit their lowest since 2003 on Monday as the market braced for additional Iranian exports, but later turned positive. Benchmark Brent crude was trading at around $29.50 at 1200 GMT.
"Iran is able to increase its oil production by 500,000 barrels a day after the lifting of sanctions, and the order to increase production was issued today," Deputy Oil Minister Rokneddin Javadi, who also heads the National Iranian Oil Company, was quoted as saying by Shana. (Reporting by Bozorgmehr Sharafedin; Writing by Sam Wilkin; Editing by David Goodman)