Tags: Venezuela | Saudi | Venezuela | oil | diplomacy

Venezuela's Maduro in OPEC Kingpin Saudi for Talks

Sunday, 11 Jan 2015 10:50 AM

Venezuelan President Nicolas Maduro was in OPEC's leading oil producer Saudi Arabia for talks Sunday, officials said, after he visited Iran to discuss the impact of plummeting crude prices.

He was to continue on for further discussions in fellow OPEC producer Algeria.

"The visit aims to strengthen ties and friendship," a Venezuelan official told AFP in brief remarks, adding that it was part of a "tour to OPEC members".

Maduro landed on Saturday in Riyadh where Deputy Crown Prince Moqren bin Abdul Aziz received him, the Saudi Press Agency said.

"The Venezuelan president was accompanied by a number of ministers," it said, giving no further details.

Saudi Arabia is the world's largest crude exporter and the biggest producer in the 12-member Organization of the Petroleum Exporting Countries (OPEC), to which Venezuela and Iran also belong.

While Saudi Arabia says it is financially strong enough to withstand the drop in world oil prices, which fell about 50 percent last year, the budgets of Venezuela and Iran are under strain.

Venezuela has said it is willing to cut production to support prices but OPEC decided in November to maintain an output ceiling of 30 million barrels per day.

The decision intensified the price slide that began in the middle of the year, blamed on softer growth in demand and a stronger United States dollar as well as oversupply.

Iran's President Hassan Rouhani, his oil minister and other top officials have criticised Saudi Arabia for not backing steps to bolster prices.

During his meeting with Maduro on Saturday, Rouhani again appeared to single out Riyadh, in remarks carried on the Iranian government's website.

"Without doubt, cooperation of countries that are on the same line in OPEC can neutralise the plans of some powers who are against OPEC, stabilising a reasonable price for oil in 2015," Rouhani said.

According to the official remarks, Maduro echoed Rouhani, "calling for the cooperation of oil exporting countries to bring back stability."

Saudi Arabia traditionally acted to balance demand and supply in the global oil market because it is the only country with substantial spare production capacity.

But Saudi Oil Minister Ali al-Naimi has been quoted as saying it is unfair to expect the cartel to reduce output if non-members, who account for most of the world's crude production, do not.

The United States was the world's biggest oil producer in the third quarter of last year, ahead of Saudi Arabia, according to the US Energy Information Administration.

In such an environment, "OPEC as we used to know it is finished, for the time being," said Beshr Bakheet, a Saudi investment fund manager.

Maduro was to leave Riyadh later Sunday for Algeria, another member of OPEC.

During his two-day state visit beginning Monday he is to meet his Algerian counterpart Abdelaziz Bouteflika, said a presidential statement carried by Algeria's APS press agency.

They would hold talks about "the current crisis in the price of oil, and on the ways and means of turning it around, in the framework of an effort broadened to non-OPEC producers," it said.

 

© AFP 2017

 
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Venezuelan President Nicolas Maduro was in OPEC's leading oil producer Saudi Arabia for talks Sunday, officials said, after he visited Iran to discuss the impact of plummeting crude prices.He was to continue on for further discussions in fellow OPEC producer Algeria. The...
Saudi, Venezuela, oil, diplomacy
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2015-50-11
Sunday, 11 Jan 2015 10:50 AM
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