Venezuela's Energy Minister Alvaro Silva Calderon said Wednesday to the press that the Organization of Petroleum Exporting Countries - OPEC expects a "recuperation" in world oil prices during the second quarter of this year.
OPEC members are closely monitoring the US economy and oil inventories as the two factors are crucial in the price trend, Silva added.
Asked at a news conference in Caracas following a Group of Three Energy Ministers meeting with the energy ministers of Mexico Ernesto Martens and Colombia Luis Valencia, whether OPEC would consider lowering the top end of the band, Silva said, " on the contrary, the price band between $22 and $28 is very reasonable, we might want to revise it up."
He added that when prices were $25-$28, the world economy was able to "assimilate" them. "OPEC has no plans to change its price band mechanism".
The reason prices are in the low side of the band is that world oil inventories are currently over 80 days and that's the reason oil prices have been weakening, Silva said.
Mexican Minister Martens reiterated Mexico's desire for a stable market and its commitment to alter production to keep steady prices "We have to see how the American economy develops and how this affects inventories," Martens said.
Martens and Colombian Oil Minister Luis Valencia were in Venezuela talking Wednesday with Silva ahead of a summit of leaders from the three nations to be held in Caracas on Saturday and Sunday.
Mexico's Vicente Fox will meet with Andres Pastrana his Colombian counterpart on Thursday in Bogota, on an official two day visit, ahead of their Saturday talks with Hugo Chavez in Caracas.
By Elio Ohep
© 2001 Mena Report (www.menareport.com)