Venezuela Plans to Keep Oil Production Levels Steady

CARACAS (Dow Jones), Feb. 25, 2010

OPEC member Venezuela has no plans to increase to oil production levels near term, a top official said Thursday.

"We have a firm decision not to increase production," Oil Minister Rafael Ramirez said. "We believe it isn't necessary to modify anything."

Venezuela was one of the members of the Organization of Petroleum Exporting Countries that pushed for cuts to global production a year ago as prices fell sharply. The government says those cuts were partly responsible for lifting oil prices after they fell to as low as $33 a barrel.

Venezuela, the largest oil producer in South America, produces about 2.3 million barrels a day of crude, according to independent estimates. The government disputes those estimates and says output is closer to 3 million a day.

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