VIENNA, Oct 21, (RTRS): A meeting of oil experts from OPEC and non-member countries discussed the risk that low oil prices would reduce investment in new supplies but agreed no concrete steps on boosting the market, officials said after the talks on Wednesday.
The Organization of the Petroleum Exporting Countries invited eight non-member nations including Russia to the talks, ahead of OPEC’s policy-setting meeting at its Vienna headquarters on Dec 4.
Venezuela’s Oil Minister Eulogio del Pino presented his country’s proposals for measures to bolster prices, such as an OPEC and non-OPEC summit and said the market equilibrium price for crude was around $88 a barrel.
“At $40 a barrel, we are below the equilibrium price,” he told reporters, reiterating comments made by Venezuelan President Nicolas Maduro on Tuesday.
“We are concerned about the depletion of the reservoirs, the decline of the production and about the investment that is required,” Del Pino said.
Non-OPEC producers have refused to work with OPEC in cutting supply to reduce a surplus that has sent oil prices below $50 a barrel, from $115 in June 2014. OPEC has refused to cut supply alone and many members have raised output.
Russia’s representative at the meeting, Ilya Galkin, head of the international cooperation department at the Energy Ministry, said investment was at risk.
“There is real risk for oil-producing countries of underinvesting,” he said. A “significant part of the meeting was dedicated to Venezuela’s proposals. We did not discuss production cuts.”
The meeting drew thin attendance from outside OPEC. Of the eight non-OPEC countries invited, Mexico, Russia, Colombia, Kazakhstan and Brazil are understood to have sent representatives.
Most OPEC countries sent their national representatives, oil experts who rank below ministers. The exceptions were Venezuela and Ecuador, whose Oil Minister Pedro Merizalde-Pav?n attended.
Venezuela’s Del Pino said President Maduro had written to the heads of state of countries participating in the meeting to propose an OPEC and non-OPEC summit next month on the state of the market.
Gulf OPEC members, including top exporter Saudi Arabia, have shown no interest in returning to a strategy of supporting prices, seeking instead to fight for market share.
Saudi Arabia has opposed such a summit, sources familiar with the matter have said. Russia’s representative on Wednesday said any summit would happen only after two or three steps and there would be another technical meeting possibly in December.