January 21, 2008 / 4:56 PM / 12 years ago

UPDATE 2-Venezuela says no need for OPEC to up output

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CARACAS, Jan 21 (Reuters) - Venezuela does not believe OPEC needs to increase output to tame high oil prices despite pressure from consumer nations, especially the United States, oil minister Rafael Ramirez told reporters on Monday.

The position of Venezuela, a price hawk in OPEC, reinforced the resistance that group members have offered in the face of calls for larger supplies.

“We don’t think it will be necessary to put more barrels on the market,” Ramirez told reporters. “The price has been moving quite a bit, which demonstrates (there has been) speculative movement.”

Earlier on Monday, U.S. Energy Secretary Sam Bodman repeated his plea for more oil from top exporter Saudi Arabia. OPEC’s has cautiously responded to Washington’s requests so far.

Oil has fallen by more than 10 percent from a record high of $100.09 a barrel hit early this month, easing some of the pressure on OPEC to raise supplies, analysts said.

Bodman told reporters in Abu Dhabi there were short-term concerns about the performance of the U.S. economy and he was hopeful Riyadh would steer a decision to increase oil supplies at OPEC’s meeting on Feb. 1 in Vienna. (Reporting by Brian Ellsworth; Writing by Saul Hudson; Editing by John Picinich)

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