Venezuela Calls for Urgent OPEC Meeting

Venezuela Calls for Urgent OPEC MeetingVenezuela Calls for Urgent OPEC Meeting

Venezuela wants OPEC to hold an emergency meeting to arrest the slide in oil prices, Reuters quoted Foreign Minister Rafael Ramirez as saying, the first member of the cartel to formally call for action ahead of next month's gathering.

"We have received instructions from the president to request an extraordinary OPEC meeting," said Ramirez, who was oil minister and head of state oil company PDVSA prior to a recent cabinet reshuffle by President Nicolas Maduro.

"We believe that OPEC has to coordinate some type of action to stop the fall in the price of oil, especially when we are convinced it has nothing to do with market situations but a manipulation of the price to create problems for big producing countries," said Ramirez. The Organization of the Petroleum Exporting Countries (OPEC) is not due to meet until Nov. 27, but some members have already begun talking about the need to curb production in order to revive oil prices that have dropped to their lowest since 2010. While Venezuela is a founding member of OPEC, its influence has waned in recent years as production has flagged and it has shown little willingness to join in previous production cuts.

The price fall has come at a bad time for Venezuela, whose economy is widely believed to be in recession even though it is suppressing official GDP data, and which is facing an onerous debt maturity burden this year and next.

"It's a price that doesn't suit anyone and there is a significant over-production," Ramirez said. "It's always been our position within OPEC to seek stability in the oil market. It doesn't suit anyone to have a price war, for the price to fall below $100 a barrel."