Venezuela, Iran plea for oil cut hits Gulf OPEC brick wall

Mon Jan 12, 2015 10:04am EST
 
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By Rania El Gamal, Amena Bakr and Alex Lawler

DUBAI/DOHA (Reuters) - A diplomatic push by Venezuela and Iran for an OPEC oil output cut has failed to soften the refusal of the group's Gulf members to do so for now, delegates said on Monday.

An oil price sinking to almost $48 a barrel on Monday is twisting the knife in Venezuela's steadily shrinking economy and in sanctions-bound Iran.

Venezuelan President Nicolas Maduro on Sunday met Saudi Arabia's Crown Prince Salman in Riyadh before heading to Qatar and Algeria on a tour to discuss the oil price crisis.

Iran's supreme leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei also weighed in and told Venezuela's president on Saturday he backed coordinated action between Tehran and Caracas to reverse the more than 50 percent drop in crude since June 2014.

But the Gulf members of the Organization of the Petroleum Exporting Countries, who account for more than half of the 12-member group's output, are holding to their stance from OPEC's November meeting in Vienna.

"There's a push from Venezuela for a cut, this is what they argued in Vienna and this is what they are lobbying for now. But from what I see there is no sign of cutting production from the Gulf states," a Gulf OPEC delegate said.

"The only solution is to have the market absorb this surplus and the extent of that will be assessed by OPEC by ministers during their meeting in June."

Another delegate said: "You need to give it some time to see the effect on prices. I think the Saudi oil minister was very clear on that."   Continued...

 
Venezuela's President Nicolas Maduro (R) is welcomed by Iran's President Hassan Rouhani in Tehran January 10, 2015. REUTERS/Miraflores Palace/Handout via Reuters