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Venezuelan foreign minister: OPEC agreed “to reduce overproduction”

Caracas, Nov 27 (EFE).- Venezuelan Foreign Minister Rafael Ramirez said that at the OPEC meeting held Thursday in Austria the oil cartel members agreed “to reduce overproduction” of petroleum, which is over 30 million barrels per day, to try and contain the recent precipitous drop in price.

Although the Organization of Petroleum Exporting Countries decided Thursday not to lower the 30 million barrel production “ceiling,” in effect since December 2011, it did agree to eliminate any production above that level, Ramiez told the Caracas-based Telesur television network, in Vienna.

The 30 million barrel “ceiling” was agreed to by the cartel three years ago and Venezuela had believed that it would be a good move right now to reduce that level because of the recent oil price drop, but none of the other OPEC members publicly supported that suggestion.

However, Ramirez emphasized that “all of us within OPEC have the common interest of, first, maintaining stability in the market and, next, a progressive recovery in the price, as there should be, because in matters of this kind there are no miracles,” and therefore the idea of eliminating any production above the 30 million barrel ceiling was attacked.

Overproduction within OPEC is “at least 500,000 barrels” per day, he calculated.

“We have agreed to work for stability” and, in Venezuela’s case, also “to work to maintain contact with non-OPEC countries,” he emphasized.

Thus, he said he was pleased that “two days before (Thursday’s) meeting” he had met with authorities from Mexico and Russia, two big non-OPEC producers and exporters, “agreeing to (hold) consultations” periodically to evaluate the market situation.