CARACAS – Venezuelan Energy and Oil Minister Rafael Ramirez said $100 per barrel is a “fair price” for crude in today’s world.
“It’s a fair price because it would allow us to recover the value of our natural resource and sustain the important investments that all oil-producing countries must make to maintain production capacities,” Ramirez, who is also president of state-owned Petroleos de Venezuela S.A., said Tuesday.
But all factors that affect the global oil market would have to be studied carefully before such a price could be set, he said at a conference to commemorate the 50-year anniversary of the founding of the Organization of the Petroleum Exporting Companies.
“We know the price of oil is being affected by factors apart from so-called oil-market fundamentals; in other words, financial speculation, the weakness of the dollar, all those elements that are closely tied to a perception of economic problems,” Ramirez said.
Despite the drastic fall in price between 2008-2009, from $140 to $35 per barrel, the minister hailed the “significant recovery” since then to a current level of $70 a barrel.
Venezuela, a founding member of OPEC and one of the globe’s top oil exporters, currently produces 2.9 million barrels per day, according to recent figures from PDVSA.
The country plans to increase output to 4.15 million bpd in 2015 and to 6.85 million bpd starting in 2021 thanks to several promising projects in the massive, heavy-oil Orinoco Belt in eastern Venezuela, Ramirez wrote in a magazine article that his office circulated last week.
The average price of Venezuelan crude so far this year stands at $69.49 per barrel, significantly higher than last year’s average price of $57.08 but still well below the 2008 average of $86.49. EFE