VIENNA May 25 The most important issue for OPEC
is to stabilise the oil market and prompt a draw on global
inventories, Venezuela's oil minister Nelson Martinez said on
"The most important issue is to regulate and stabilise the
market ... and bring inventories down to their five-year
average" Martinez told reporters.
The Organization of the Petroleum Exporting Countries is
meeting in Vienna to discuss whether to extend an accord reached
in December in which it and 11 non-members agreed to cut oil
output by about 1.8 million barrels per day in the first half of
"This is a problem for producers, rather than exporters. For
the first time those of us that have oil-producing facilities in
our countries are conscious of the need to regulate and
stabilise the market ... and lower our production so as to drain
inventory levels to their five-year average."
Martinez said Venezuela, which is suffering from deep
recession and has seen thousands take to the streets daily in
protest, is currently producing around 1.97 million barrels per
day of crude.
Martinez said he expected the current deal to be extended by
nine months, but that six months "was an option".
(Reporting by Ernest Scheyder in VIENNA; Writing by Amanda
Cooper; Editing by Jane Merriman)