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Venezuela wants extra OPEC meeting to halt oil-price drop

11 october 2014, 13:45
Photo courtesy of newskaz.ru.
Photo courtesy of newskaz.ru.

 Venezuela will ask for an emergency meeting of OPEC countries to try to halt sliding oil prices, Foreign Minister Rafael Ramirez said Friday, AFP reports.

A barrel of Venezuelan crude closed at $82.72 on Friday, a drop of $3.17 for the week, one of the lowest levels in the past three years.

"We are going to ask for an extraordinary OPEC meeting. We need to try to coordinate some sort of action to stop falling oil prices," Ramirez said at a Caracas news conference.

"I am convinced this is not due to market conditions, but is price manipulation to create economic problems for large oil-producing businesses," added Ramirez, who is the former oil minister and ex-head of the public oil company PDVSA.

This year, Venezuelan crude has averaged $94.99 per barrel, compared to $98.08 in 2013 and $103.42 in 2012.

"It doesn't suit anyone if the price of oil falls below $100 a barrel," Ramirez said.

The next regular meeting of the Organization of the Petroleum Exporting Countries (OPEC) is scheduled for November 27 at the group's Vienna headquarters in Austria.

According to Ramirez, the price drop is due to an overproduction in non-OPEC countries -- a reference to shale oil, of which the United States is the world's top producer.

While it has some of the world's biggest oil reserves, Venezuela only produces 2.4 million barrels a day, which bring in 96 percent of its foreign currency reserves.

The 12 members of OPEC, who pump about a third of the world's crude, said Friday that world demand will grow by 1.05 million barrels per day (mbpd) to 91.19 mbpd this year.

For 2015, OPEC predicted demand to reach 92.38 mbpd, unchanged from its previous forecast.

Brent oil prices tumbled this week to a four-year low on plentiful crude supplies and on demand fears arising from global economic uncertainty.

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