Venezuelan President Says Oil Basket Set to Fall to $30 or Less


CARACAS, Aug 25 - President Nicolas Maduro said on Tuesday Venezuela's petroleum export basket is poised to fall to $30 per barrel or less, adding he was seeking to a deal with OPEC and Russia to stabilize prices.

"Venezuelan oil dropped $2 today. It reached $35," he said during his weekly televised broadcast. "I think it's going to reach $30 or drop even further."

The South American OPEC member's basket, which includes crude oil and refined products, trades at a discount to other benchmarks because of its higher content of heavy oil.

Global oil prices closed at $43.21 a barrel on Tuesday, down from over $100 a year ago due to a lingering supply glut. Some chart watchers have predicted that U.S. crude , which closed at $39.31, could drop below $30.

While Venezuela's oil prices averaged around $88.42 last year, they have dropped precipitously, worsening a recession, cash crunch and shortages of basic goods ahead of key parliamentary elections the ruling Socialist Party are forecast to lose.

"We're moving to see if an OPEC-Russia alliance can achieve the miracle of stabilizing prices," Maduro added.

The Organization of the Petroleum Exporting Countries does not meet until Dec. 4 and has rebuffed previous calls for an emergency meeting.

OPEC has refused to cut production in the face of falling prices, hoping slimmer margins will drive competitors out of the market.

OPEC's Gulf members, relatively wealthy, are better able to cope with low oil prices than the African members, Iran or Venezuela.

Saudi Arabia and Iraq, OPEC's top two producers, have been pumping this year at record highs, and others like Russia have kept production levels elevated.

(Reporting by Corina Pons; Writing by Alexandra Ulmer; Editing by Lisa Shumaker)

Copyright 2016 Thomson Reuters. Click for Restrictions.


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Glen Hutchcraft | Aug. 27, 2015
Oil: Does my heart good to see all you greedy countries paying a price for years of ripping us off at the pumps. We Americans are going to send the price of oil and gas to the bottom with new and improved technology. Better get used to low prices because they are here to stay, as we develop our own reserves, we will no longer require any more oil from foreign countries, hope they can eat oil because food prices will go up for them in the near future. Hay what comes around goes

James Malenfant | Aug. 27, 2015
The only countries having trouble with oil prices, in the Western Hemisphere, are OPEC nations. Nations that are bastions of political serenity, compared to the Middle East. The article doesnt mention the elephant in the room. The United States, and Canada, dont care what OPEC thinks, and neither does Mexico. Too bad, so sad. OPEC is simply a pricing cartel, trying to fix the price. The U.S. does not like cartels, and will continue to pump, and pump. Have a great day!

Ihor Makuch | Aug. 26, 2015
OPEC today is not relavant. USA today produces or can produce ALL it needs. We dont have to import any oil - Venezuelan, Russian, etc. We purchase Canadian Tar Sands oil and heavy Mexican crude because we can. Laws of Supply and Demand work. Right now there is to much oil chasing to few customers.This imbalance shows up to lower and lower oil prices. To bad for Maduro and Putin.

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