Published On: Mon, Nov 24th, 2014

Venezuela and Russia discuss coordinating to defend oil price

OilCARACAS - Venezuela’s foreign minister and Russia’s oil minister discussed ways to support falling oil prices amid a flurry of meetings by producers before a scheduled OPEC meeting later this month.

Venezuela’s Rafael Ramirez and Alexander Novak talked about “coordinating action” to defend the market, according to a statement published on Venezuela’s foreign ministry website. Crude prices have dropped 31 percent since June amid rising U.S. production and tepid global demand growth.

Iraqi President Fouad Masoum and Libyan Prime Minister Abdullah al-Thinni flew to Riyadh last week to talk with Saudi officials. Ramirez held talks in Algeria and Qatar, while Saudi Arabia’s Ali Al-Naimi toured Latin America. Iranian oil minister Bijan Namdar Zanganeh is preparing to visit the U.A.E. this week, Shana, the Tehran-based oil ministry’s news service, said yesterday. Ministers of the Organization of Petroleum Exporting Countries are scheduled to gather in Vienna Nov. 27 to discuss the market.

“There is no question, in the last week or so, the pace has picked up as far as the pre-OPEC meetings,” Mike Wittner, head of oil market research at Societe Generale SA in New York, said by phone today. “Now the meeting is getting close the prices continue to go down and the heat is on.”

Brent crude, the benchmark for more than half the world’s oil, fell to a four year low of $76.76 in London on Nov. 14 before closing at $79.41. The price dropped 10 cents to $79.31 today.

Biggest loser

While Russia, the world’s second-largest oil producer in 2013 behind Saudi Arabia, isn’t an OPEC member, the country stands to be the biggest loser from the drop in oil prices, according to a Bloomberg Global Poll of international investors. President Vladimir Putin said Nov. 14 that the drop in crude is potentially “catastrophic” for the world’s largest energy exporter.

Venezuela, South America’s biggest oil producer and a member of OPEC, relies on oil for 95 percent of its exports. As prices slumped, the country called for an emergency OPEC meeting last month, a request that wasn’t heeded.

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