US Energy Secretary Bill Richardson urged Venezuela Saturday to seriously consider increasing oil production now that the United States and other industrialized nations face a shortage of fuel.
The comment came after Richardson met here with his Venezuelan counterpart, Ali Rodriguez, who is also president of the Organization of Oil Exporting Counties (OPEC).
The US envoy described the talks as "very positive" but said he was preoccupied by the volatility of the oil market.
Oil prices went up again in New York Friday on fears that continuing violence between Israel and the Palestinians could result in a disruption of oil supplies.
The price of a barrel of light sweet crude for November delivery rose 84 cents to 33.75 dollars amid reports of new clashes in the West Bank and Gaza Strip between stone-throwing Palestinian youths and Israeli troops.
A barrel of crude was selling for 32.91 dollars late Thursday. In London, Brent North Sea crude for December delivery was selling for 31.09 dollars a barrel after closing at 30.74 dollars on Thursday.
Analysts attributed the jitters on the oil markets to concerns that Arab nations, during their weekend summit in Cairo, could decide to use oil as a weapon to put pressure on Israel and its supporters.
The current price was "too high," according to Richardson, who said the United States would prefer to see the price of oil go down to between 20 and 25 dollars a barrel.
The US energy secretary also said that Rodriguez had told him that OPEC may consider increasing production by 500,000 barrels a day within the established output margin. Rodriguez was quoted by Venezuelan media Saturday as saying that his talks with Richardson were aimed at "reestablishing stability on the oil market."—AFP.
©--Agence France Presse.