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Venezuela Minister Discusses Oil in Tehran

OPEC should cut crude production “a bit more” in the second half of 2017.OPEC should cut crude production “a bit more” in the second half of 2017.

With oil prices keeping steady above $50 a barrel, compliance with last year's historic deal between OPEC and non-OPEC members to decrease crude production level so far is  acceptable.

Venezuela's newly-elected Oil Minister Nelson Martinez made the statement in a meeting with his Iranian counterpart Bijan Namdar Zanganeh in Tehran on Tuesday, Shana reported.

"We had constructive talks with Iranian oil officials regarding the global oil market as well as strategies to monitor compliance with the OPEC deal, which marked the first such pact since 2001," Martinez said.

According to Martinez, current oil prices indicate that the cooperation between members of the Organization of Petroleum Exporting Countries and non-OPEC producers yielded positive results.

Zanganeh said on Tuesday that OPEC should cut crude production "a bit more" in the second half of 2017. Earlier he had said that OPEC producers "will be happy" with oil $55-60 per barrel through the end of the year.

A delegation from Venezuela headed by the country's Foreign Minister Delcy Rodriguez and accompanied by Martinez and high-ranking officials from Petroleos de Venezuela, S.A., the country's state oil and gas company, arrived in Tehran on Tuesday.

Before coming to Iran, Martinez discussed the supply cuts with Russian Energy Minister Alexander Novak in Moscow on Monday.

"The progress in delivery of the agreement is highly valued. Venezuela, one of the biggest supporters and promoters of the deal, fully  adheres to the obligations," Martinez told Novak without elaborating on the details of the reductions.

Expressing satisfaction with the outcome of the production cut deal, Novak said that he too was satisfied with the level of compliance, noting that Russia had cut oil output by 100,000 bpd. 

According to oil companies and ship-tracking data, the members of the group that pledged to make cuts in Vienna two months ago have implemented 83% of those reductions on average.

OPEC producers have pledged to cut supplies by 1.2 million barrels per day with non-OPEC producers such as Russia also pledging to chop output by nearly 600,000 bpd through the first half of this year.

  Positive Impact 

Rodriguez described relations between Caracas and Tehran as strategic, noting that the two states have extensive cooperation in energy related businesses.

Pointing to the fruitful negotiations with Iranian delegation headed by Zanganeh, she said the bilateral collaboration on oil issue "can have a positive impact on oil markets."

According to Zanganeh, Iran and Venezuela share similar positions regarding OPEC policies.

Evaluating oil market developments as positive, Zanganeh noted, "Usually non-OPEC states would raise their production to compensate for voluntary cuts by OPEC. Now, we are seeing voluntary cuts by both sides."

Zanganeh noted that the OPEC agreement to cut output will last six months with the professed goal of shrinking bloated oil inventories that are keeping a lid on prices. While the organization has the option to extend the deal, some members, including de-facto leader Saudi Arabia, have said an extension may not be necessary.

"Most OPEC members would settle for $50-60 per barrel for the OPEC basket price. A $55 price tag is acceptable," he said.

On Wednesday international Brent crude futures were trading at $54.70 per barrel and US West Texas Intermediate crude was at $51.68 a barrel.

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