Venezuela: OPEC output cut can help 'restore stability'

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Thursday, September 29, 2016

Production cuts by oil cartel OPEC will help "restore stability and equilibrium" to the battered industry, the Venezuelan government said on Thursday.

The 14-nation group agreed to slash output by around 700,000b/d during a meeting in Algeria on Wednesday in a bid to end a two-year price slump that has eroded oil export revenues and sent shockwaves through global markets.

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"[The decision] will contribute to drain excess oil from inventories, which today are higher than the average of the past five years, causing high price volatility..." Venezuela's oil minister, Eulogio Del Pino, said in a statement.

The draft agreement will limit OPEC crude output to 32.5-33Mb/d, according to the organization's president and Qatar energy minister, Mohammed Bin Saleh al-Sada.

OPEC said it would finalize details of the freeze at its next meeting in Vienna on November 30.

Del Pino said non-OPEC producers such as Russia would be encouraged to join the deal "to ensure greater impact".

Brent crude futures LCOc1 were up US$1.06, or 2.2%, at US$49.75 in late afternoon trading on Thursday. Prices hit US$114/b in June 2014 before slumping to a nadir of US$28/b in January.

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Oil-rich Venezuela is among those hardest hit by the crude price downturn and has lobbied hard for OPEC to cut production.

According to CIA World Factbook data, oil and gas revenue accounts for about 96% of the country's export earnings, 45% of budget revenues and 12% of GDP.

The oil crash has escalated concerns about Venezuela's hyperinflation and shortage of essential goods such as basic food and medicine.

The country's dire economic plight has led to mass protests and moves by the opposition to stage a recall referendum against President Nicolás Maduro.

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