November 23, 2016 / 10:21 PM / 3 years ago

Venezuela's Maduro says OPEC output pact 'imminent'

CARACAS (Reuters) - Venezuela’s President Nicolas Maduro said on Wednesday an OPEC deal to cut output and hike oil prices was “imminent,” and dispatched his oil minister to Russia to help bring other producers on board.

Venezuela's President Nicolas Maduro speaks during his weekly broadcast "En contacto con Maduro" (In contact with Maduro) in La Victoria, Venezuela November 20, 2016. Miraflores Palace/Handout via REUTERS

The Organization of Petroleum Exporting Countries agreed in Algeria two months ago to limit supply, with special conditions given to Libya, Nigeria and Iran, whose output has been hit by wars and sanctions.

The details are meant to be finalised when OPEC ministers meet in Vienna on Nov. 30.

“An agreement is imminent by OPEC countries to freeze and reduce production, balance the market, and raise prices in a realistic, fair and responsible manner,” Maduro said in a speech to workers of state oil company PDVSA.

“A complete success. I trust in God and his blessings. I trust in the efforts we have made,” he added, praising PDVSA President and Oil Minister Eulogio Del Pino’s efforts to reach an international consensus.

Venezuela depends on oil for about 95 percent of export revenues, so the price fall has contributed to a severe recession along with failing socialist economic policies.

Since oil prices collapsed in 2014, Venezuela has been among the most vocal in pushing both OPEC and non-OPEC countries to slash output.

Its calls were initially ignored by major energy players such as Saudi Arabia, but producers have shown increased interest in coordinating output amid weak crude markets.

Doubts remain over whether OPEC will agree to a proposed cut of 4 percent to 4.5 percent that has been discussed.

That would imply a supply cut of more than 1.2 million barrels per day, according to Reuters calculations.

Non-OPEC member Russia has said it would cut production in support of OPEC, but domestic oil companies have not worked out details, muddying the outlook.

“I have given new tasks to comrade Eulogio Del Pino so that in the next few days he goes to Russia to finish the agreement with Russia, the non-OPEC nations and OPEC,” Maduro added.

Reporting by Andrew Cawthorne; Editing by Bill Rigby

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