Venezuela invites world's energy ministers to meeting on oil-price slump

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The government of Venezuela, which for the past month has sought to intensify an initiative to increase crude oil prices by limiting production, said on Thursday that it will host a meeting on Oct. 21 in Caracas and is inviting all oil-producing countries, both inside and outside of the Organization of Petroleum Exporting Countries, to participate.

The announcement was made by the Venezuelan Ministry of Oil and Mining, which also said Venezuelan Oil Minister Eulogio Del Pino held talks this week with Russian Energy  Minister Alexander Novak to discuss several matters, including the current oil and gas markets.

“As part of the dialogue, there were discussions of the bilateral cooperation in the areas of oil, gas and electricity, as well as the current situation of the global hydrocarbons market,” the Venezuelan energy ministry said.

“(Venezuelan President) Nicolas Maduro started in September a series of consultations with chiefs of state and governments of the Organization of Petroleum Exporting Countries aimed at pushing for meetings that would make it possible to obtain agreements toward the recovery of prices of oil barrels and the stabilization of the oil market,” the ministry said.

The meeting on Oct. 21 will be a continuation of these efforts, Del Pino said in a statement.

The Venezuelan ministry´s website recently highlighted the results of an OPEC meeting held in Caracas in 2000, outlining the initiatives of Hugo Chavez, the late former president.

“That meeting made it possible to apply a system of ranges of prices,” the ministry said in a separate statement.

During that meeting, participants agreed on “the application of the system of price ranges, the implementation of a long-term policy for the organization, and it was possible to rescue internal discipline in the meeting of quotas so as to reduce the excessive offer of hydrocarbons to recover the value of the barrel,” the statement said.

Prices for both Brent and West Texas Intermediate crude oil benchmarks have declined more than half, from over $100 per barrel in the middle of 2014.

The decline was steeper after November 2014, when OPEC members did not move to cut production, as had been requested at the time by Venezuela and Algeria, which needed the revenue to sustain their struggling economies.

Richer members of the organization, such as Saudi Arabia, the United Arab Emirates and other Gulf members, refused to cut production.

While these richer countries are also losing revenue, they are betting that the lower crude oil prices, if sustained over a long period of time, will affect the higher-cost, shale-oil production capacity in the U.S., which was responsible for the downturn in crude oil prices earlier this decade.