VIENNA – Venezuela will urge fellow OPEC members to reaffirm the current ceiling on oil production, the Andean nation’s energy minister said on Tuesday as he called on Gulf countries to stop exceeding their output quotas.
“We believe we should maintain the production ceiling of 30 million (barrels per day), which was agreed at our last meeting last December. We see no reason to deviate from this,” Rafael Ramirez told reporters in Vienna, where officials from the Organization of Petroleum Exporting Countries are meeting Thursday.
Venezuela, which by some measures has the world’s largest reserves of crude, is a charter member of OPEC.
“We are also concerned that there is overproduction of around 3 million barrels (per day) in the market and we will make a very strong appeal in the heart of OPEC for the countries that have excess production to adjust,” the Venezuelan official said.
Asked which OPEC members are exceeding their output quotas, he replied: “the Gulf countries.”
Saudi Arabia, the world’s top oil exporter, has boosted output to a record 10 million bpd in recent months, while Kuwait and the United Arab Emirates have likewise ramped up production.
Ramirez pointed to OPEC documents showing that the cartel’s 12 member-nations are currently pumping between 31.5 million and 32.9 million bpd.
OPEC needs to bring production back down to 30 million bpd, the Venezuelan said.
“We don’t see that there’s any demand for that (excess) crude in the market, on the contrary, we have an estimate of lower growth in demand than that in 2011 and we see an economic situation that it is deteriorating,” Ramirez said.
Global oil prices have fallen 29 percent since March, dipping below $100 a barrel for Brent and OPEC benchmark crude, their lowest level since early 2011, he said.
The price of OPEC oil “has to be above $100” a barrel, Ramirez said. EFE