Ch�z: Crude oil consumers, producers should meet

Venezuelan President Hugo Ch�z reckons consumers and producers of crude oil should meet regularly to arrive at a fair oil price�a figure Ch�z puts at between $22-28/bbl. Ch�z said equity in pricing had become necessary because some consumer nations had resorted to 'blackmail' to force down crude oil prices.


ABUJA�Venezuelan President Hugo Ch�z suggested Monday that consumers and producers of crude oil should meet regularly to arrive at a fair oil price�a figure Ch�z puts at between $22-28/bbl. Ch�z said equity in pricing had become necessary because some consumer nations had resorted to "blackmail" to force down crude oil prices.

Speaking at a joint news conference with his Nigerian counterpart, Olusegun Obasanjo, Ch�z recalled that Venezuelans suffered when the price of a barrel of crude went to as low as $8/bbl and complained that the UK, and the United States in particular, deliberately painted OPEC member nations as being bad countries that had ganged up to endanger the world economy.

He added that the Organization of Petroleum Exporting Countries (OPEC)�which is holding its second heads of state summit next month in Caracas�must learn to cut production when necessary and instill discipline among its members to ensure adherence to output quota allocations.

The Venezuelan leader noted that he had so far visited nine heads of state of OPEC member countries on his whirlwind tour to lobby for stability in crude oil prices in the international market.

He expressed confidence that his campaign to stabilize crude oil prices would yield fruits as "expectations are high."

OPEC heads of state meeting
Ch�z, who has been issuing invitations to OPEC heads of state to the organization's second summit in Caracas next month, said on his arrival in Algeria that six heads of state would be attending, while the five other OPEC members would be represented by high-ranking officials.

"It is possible to affirm now that all conditions of success for this event are being met," he said, adding that the question was to institutionalize the holding of OPEC summits every 4-5 years.

Ch�z also called for the creation of an OPEC bank and university, noting in this regard that the organization, 40 years after its creation, was aiming to relaunch and adapt itself to new challenges.

"The question is to go beyond the simple defense of the price of the barrel in setting up a bank which would take in investments in OPEC member states," commented the Venezuelan leader.

Concerning the university, Ch�z explained that its objective would be to group together the students of Arab, African, and South American countries and OPEC to study and learn that "the first integration is the human one."

Board of governors meeting
The 101st meeting of the OPEC board of governors opened at the organization's secretariat in Vienna Monday.

The board customarily meets ahead of the regular OPEC ministerial conference, which will next convene in the Austrian capital on Sept. 10.

Chaired by Nigerian OPEC Governor Aboki Zhawa, who is permanent secretary at his country's ministry of petroleum resources, the board is discussing a number of reports and reviewing the agenda for the next OPEC conference.

Members are reviewing oil market developments and discussing the draft budget and work program for next year.

The board will also study a status report on preparations for next month's summit of OPEC heads of state in Caracas.

OPEC member countries comprise Algeria, Indonesia, Iran, Iraq, Kuwait, Libya, Nigeria, Qatar, Saudi Arabia, the United Arab Emirates, and Venezuela.

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