OREANDA-NEWS. Venezuela is clinging to a fading campaign to freeze oil production ahead of a 2 June Opec meeting, although most of Caracas' attention has shifted inward on spiraling political strife and economic malaise.

Venezuelan energy and mines minister Eulogio Del Pino continues to lobby key Opec and non-Opec producers "quietly but insistently" on the need to agree on joint measures to strengthen oil prices and align supply with real demand since the failed 17 April meeting of 18 Opec and non-Opec producers in Doha, the energy ministry said.

The proposal appears to have lost traction among other oil producers as prices have crept up in recent months.

Venezuela struck a preliminary deal in February with Russia, Qatar and Saudi Arabia to freeze output, but the deal was tossed out by Saudi Arabia in Doha after Iran declined to join in.

Russian state-owned oil company Rosneft's chief executive Igor Sechin said on 10 May that Opec has "practically stopped existing as a united organization" with the capacity to influence markets.

Venezuela's Opec posture coincides with a sharp political and economic crackdown by president Nicolas Maduro, whose government is running out of revenue to sustain imports of basic goods. Shortages of food, medicine and fuel are widespread in what is now broadly viewed as a humanitarian crisis.

State-owned PdV's oil production is falling as a result of extensive cuts in power supply, a shortage of spare parts and the recent withdrawal of oil services giants Schlumberger and Halliburton because of lack of payment.

Since US and EU sanctions were lifted in January, Iran has been aggressively targeting the Asia-Pacific market, nudging out PdV. Caracas has long touted the Asia-Pacific market as key to diversifying its exports away from its traditional US market.