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Venezuela says Russia played key role with OPEC

Venezuelan oil minister tells Russian news agency production will be around 2 million bpd.

By Daniel J. Graeber
Venezuela says Russia played key role with OPEC
Venezuela's oil minister tells Russian news agency that the Kremlin played a pivotal role in brokering an OPEC production dealt. Photo by GMEVIPHOTO/Shutterstock

CARACAS, Venezuela, Dec. 7 (UPI) -- Russia was pivotal in the decision last week by members of OPEC to agree to a production ceiling starting in January, Venezuela's oil minister said.

Russian President Vladimir Putin spoke by phone with his Venezuelan counterpart to discuss the terms of a production agreement reached last week in Vienna. Member states meet again Dec. 10 to discuss the terms of the deal.

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Venezuela Oil Minister Eulogio del Pino told Russian news agency Tass the Kremlin played a central role in an agreement that, on paper, is aimed at restoring a balance between supply and demand to the energy market.

"It was a fundamental contribution," he was quoted as saying.

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Venezuela under the terms of a document signed last week agreed to cut about 95,000 barrels of oil per day from its production to 1.97 million bpd. Non-OPEC contributions are expected to account for about half of the net decline outlined in Vienna.

"We've reached a mutually accepted formula with the Russian side, which stipulates freezing [production] for six months," he said.

Some OPEC members had argued over whether or not the agreement should depend on production figures reported directly by producers or from secondary sources. Venezuela's direct reporting was 249,000 barrels higher than secondary sources for October.

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Del Pino said there is production from parts of the country that are not included in the agreement. According to him, Venezuelan oil production will be "about 2 million bpd."

Russia's position on the production agreement has remained fluid, with Putin himself stepping into and out of negotiations. Before the deal was reached, the Russian president said the country was ready to "freeze production" at current levels, which are at post-Soviet highs.

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