BAGHDAD - Venezuela Seeks Coordinated Stance with Iraq at OPEC Meeting : LUSENET : Grassroots Information Coordination Center (GICC) : One Thread


Venezuela Seeks Coordinated Stance With Iraq at OPEC Meeting

Story Filed: Sunday, March 19, 2000 1:15 PM EST

BAGHDAD (March 19) XINHUA - Venezuelan Minister of Energy and Mines Ali Rodriguez Araque paid a short visit to Iraq Sunday for talks with Iraqi Oil Minister Amir Muhammad Rashid to coordinate stances ahead of a meeting of world major oil producing countries.

The Venezuelan minister has left Iraq, the Iraqi News Agency (INA) reported.

Venezuela and Iraq, members of the Organization of Petroleum Exporting Countries (OPEC), will attend the OPEC oil ministerial meeting on March 27 in Vienna, which is to decide whether to raise oil production to offset a oil supply shortage that now stands at more than 2 million barrels a day.

Rashid has said that he is making contacts with his OPEC counterparts to coordinate their stands at the meeting, expressing the hope that the OPEC will not loosen its reins in oil output.

Baghdad is trying to quench the attempts of the United States, the biggest oil consumer, to raise oil output to cut down oil prices.

Oil exports of Iraq, which has been under sweeping U.N. sanctions since 1990 for its invasion of Kuwait, are monitored by the United Nations, not by the OPEC.

Rashid said he believed that OPEC countries will press for a rollover of the current oil output ceiling of some 26 million barrels a day until the end of summer.

However, Saudi Arabia and Iran, two heavy-weight producers of OPEC, have agreed that world oil producing countries should guarantee adequate and timely supplies for the good of the world's economy.

Such a move was seen as a signal that major oil producers will ease their present production curb which was agreed upon by OPEC and non-OPEC countries last March to uplift oil prices which dropped to an all-time low in December 1998.

Under the agreement, due to expire by the end of this month, OPEC members slashed their output by 1.7 million barrels per day from April 1, 1999, while non-OPEC producers cut their daily production by 400,000 barrels. The move has over the period drastically boosted oil prices.

Senior U.S. officials, including President Bill Clinton, have been lobbying for a rise in oil production to cool off the surging oil prices, which had jumped over 34 U.S. dollars per barrel, the highest since November, 1990.

However, Iraq said the oil prices were "proper" and "acceptable" taking into consideration the 25-30 percent inflation rate from 1990 to now.

Copyright ) 2000, Xinhua News Agency, all rights reserved.

-- (, March 19, 2000

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