Caracas lukewarm over Jeddah talks

Venezuela’s Oil Minister Rafael Ramirez said the upcoming meeting of oil producers and consumers in Jeddah, Saudi Arabia, will not yield an agreement to change oil production levels.
Saudi Arabia has called a 22 June meeting to discuss record oil prices, which hit a record $139.12 a barrel on Friday and traded above $136 yesterday. Consumer nations say these prices could slow economic growth and spark inflation.
Ramirez said Opec is already working to keep markets in balance, therefore the Saudi meeting will not be a forum to discuss production.
"It is not the place to agree any of these things," he told reporters at a meeting between government leaders and businessmen in Caracas.
"I hope the main consumer countries will understand that Opec exists and that we have developed an extraordinary role in keeping the market balanced," he said.
Ramirez said he did not know if Venezuela will attend the meeting. He also said he did not see a need for Opec to hike oil production despite record prices approaching $140 per barrel.
Ramirez said these prices have nothing to do with production but rather are caused by speculation and the falling dollar.
But he did not say what he thought were "fair" oil prices, even as some Opec nations have said they believe current price levels are too high.
"It’s not about if there is a fair price or not … it’s about conditions that are out of our control, that don’t correspond to the fundamentals of the market," Reuters quoted him saying.
A Saudi oil official said the kingdom would not invite heads of state to attend the meeting.
"There will be no heads of state. This will be a ministerial meeting under the auspices of King Abdullah," the official said, adding that representatives from oil companies, banks and other industry bodies would also be invited.
Diplomats had earlier said heads of state would be invited.
Canada, the largest energy supplier to the US, will not attend the meeting, an official said yesterday. It was not immediately clear whether an invitation has been sent to anyone in the government.
Japan’s Minister of Economy, Trade and Industry Akira Amari was considering participating in the meeting, a spokesman said today.
Mexican Energy Minister Georgina Kessel would not confirm whether she would attend the meeting, Reuters reported.

(Upstream Online)


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