Venezuela Tries To Rally Support For Oil Producer Meeting
CARACAS, Aug 10 (Reuters) - Venezuela on Tuesday said it was trying to rally support for a meeting of oil producers to agree measures to prop up oil prices, the struggling Latin American country's biggest source of income.
Venezuela, a member of the Organization of the Petroleum Exporting Countries (OPEC), is suffering from an economic and political crisis and relies heavily on oil export revenues.
Its government has long called for oil producers to come up with measures to buoy oil prices.
President Nicolas Maduro said on Tuesday night on state television that he was in talks with several other oil exporters to organise a producer meeting.
"I spoke today with King Salman of Saudi Arabia. In the coming hours, I will speak to the Emir of Qatar. I sent a communique to President Vladimir Putin (of Russia). I'm going to speak too with President Rouhani from Iran. I'm in touch with President Correa (of Ecuador), members of OPEC and non-OPEC (countries)," Maduro said on his weekly television show, adding that Venezuela was pushing to "stabilise" the oil price at $40 per barrel.
Venezuelan oil minister Eulogio del Pino had said on Monday that a meeting between OPEC and non-OPEC countries may take place "in the coming weeks", and that Venezuela was "actively promoting a meeting of producers ... so that OPEC and non-OPEC countries can sit down to see what the scenario for the winter looks like."
After recovering for much of the first half of this year following a 70-percent price rout between 2014 and early 2016, oil prices have slumped 15 percent again since June to the low $40s per barrel as crude and refined product markets remain oversupplied.
But analysts met Venezuela's calls with scepticism.
"Another round of proposed production freeze talks by OPEC failed to excite investors," ANZ Bank said on Wednesday.
Russia, the world's largest oil producer, said on Monday it did not see any ground for new talks on freezing oil output but said it was open to negotiations.
Since the plunge in oil prices in 2014, Venezuela has repeatedly tried to broker deals to freeze production and reduce a supply glut, with limited success, as no oil producer was willing to cede market share by voluntarily cutting output, instead expecting competing exporters to restrict production.
As a result, OPEC members and other producers including Russia did not manage to reach an agreement on freezing supply at a meeting held in Doha in April.
OPEC members are scheduled to meet informally in September.
(Writing by Brian Ellsworth and Henning Gloystein; Editing by Sandra Maler and Joseph Radford)
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