Up to 20 oil producers bound for Doha: Venezuela

OREANDA-NEWS. April 12, 2016. Venezuela says up to 20 countries that account for a combined 75pc of global crude production will attend a 17 April meeting in Doha aimed at freezing output to buoy prices.

The assertion by the Opec country energy ministry coincided with meeting of Latin American oil producers hosted by fellow Opec member Ecuador.

Fourteen countries have formally confirmed their attendance at the Doha meeting, including Saudi Arabia, Iran and Iraq. The Venezuelan energy ministry did not stipulate which other countries would participate.

At the conclusion of the meeting in Quito, the Latin American producers urged Opec and non-Opec producers to "take the actions necessary to stabilize the world oil market to improve prices in benefit of producers and consumers."

Venezuelan energy minister Eulogio Del Pino and delegations from non-Opec Colombia, Mexico and Bolivia attended the Quito meeting to discuss the outlook for oil prices, demand and supply. Bolivia, a close ally of Caracas, is primarily a natural gas producer and exporter.

The meeting coordinated by Ecuador's government sought to build a regional consensus on a proposal to freeze oil production forged in February by Venezuela, Russia, Saudi Arabia and Qatar.

A joint statement read by Ecuador's foreign minister Guillaume Long urged Opec and non-Opec producers to "establish a mechanism and dialogue and integration" that will allow producers to make decisions based on shared and publicly accessible data on reserves, production, demand and inventories.

Production across most of Latin America is flat or declining, so any freeze would have little practical application.

At the same time, non-Opec producers are reluctant to impose production limits that could alienate upstream investors and potentially spark contractual disputes.

Mexico struck a low profile at the 8 April meeting, asserting that it was participating as an "observer". Colombian energy and mines minister Maria Lorena Guti?rrez said in Quito that the meeting of Latin American producers resulted in the outcome "that we came here looking for" in terms of advocating regional dialogue and inter-governmental coordination on energy policy.

But Guti?rrez cautioned that the world oil market "is not one where we have to regulate supply, but instead seek other schemes, adding that the production freeze "is happening naturally, and what (Colombia) is looking for are other measures…that really seek to stabilize oil prices."

Brazil did not participate in the Quito meeting, after earlier asserting that a production freeze would contradict its oil policies.

Del Pino said in Quito that the countries which have confirmed their attendance in Doha on 17 April are individually free to support or abstain from embracing expanded measures to curb output and strengthen oil prices.

But "what's at play here is the defense of our product, the right of oil producers to have an equilibrium price, a price that justifies investments and this shouldn't be left in the hands of speculators," Del Pino added.

Del Pino said in February that global oil producers and consumers needed an "equilibrium price" of at least \\$60/bl. Venezuelan president Nicolas Maduro subsequently said that \\$100/bl is a "fair price."