With OPEC ministers preparing to gather in Vienna on March 16th to discuss possible production cuts, Venezuela and Mexico seemed to be at odds on March 8th over whether a tripartite meeting with Saudi Arabia had been scheduled ahead of the OPEC conference.
Venezuelan Oil Minister Alvaro said that he was unaware of any discussions planned before the regular meeting. He said that: “I have no knowledge of a special meeting.”
Silva also indicated that OPEC had not yet reached a consensus on production levels, but that the cartel would stand together in its goal to maintain stable oil prices.
Mexican Oil Minister Ernesto Martens said on March 8th that he would decide in the coming several days whether to meet with Saudi Oil Minister Ali Naimi before the upcoming OPEC meeting. Martens also said that he currently saw no need for a production cut.
He said that oil supplies to the U.S. appeared to be sufficient, but that Washington would be seeking to increase stock levels in the coming months. “Stocks seem to be a little bit low,” he said.
Silva, along with U.S. Energy Secretary Spencer Abraham, had traveled to Mexico for the Fifth Hemispheric Energy Ministers Meeting hosted by Martens.
Abraham indicated on March 7th that the new U.S. administration would take a softer approach to dealing with OPEC and declined to say whether he would ask the cartel not to cut production at the upcoming meeting.
“We are not going to engage in a public discussion about that issue at this point,” he said. “There is a certain interest to have those discussions in a quieter fashion and make our own strategic decisions on that basis.”
© 2001 Mena Report (www.menareport.com)