OPEC Secretary General visits Venezuela

No 8/2008
Caracas, Venezuela
21 May 2008

Abdalla Salem El-Badri, OPEC Secretary General, who is currently on a week long working visit to the two OPEC Member Countries in Latin America, the Bolivarian Republic of Venezuela and Republic of Ecuador, was on Tuesday granted audience by President Hugo Chavez Frias, in Caracas.

The meeting covered a number of topics, including the current oil market situation, the positive relationship between Venezuela and the OPEC Secretariat, and a follow up on some of the issues contained in the three Declarations of OPEC Heads of State and Government which were adopted in Algiers (1975), Caracas, (2000) and Riyadh (2007).

President Chavez Frias commended El-Badri for his contribution to the development of OPEC from his days as Libya’s Oil Minister to Secretary General. He reiterated the need for greater cooperation among OPEC Member countries in other areas like technology, industry and finance, emphasizing that "our Member Countries need to go beyond bilateral cooperation to a multilateral framework." He assured El-Badri of the continuous support of Venezuela to OPEC.

Responding to the remarks of the President, El-Badri said that the crude oil market remains well supplied with OECD stocks increasing above their five year average. The Secretary General expressed concern about the volatility that has characterized the market in recent times, noting that non-fundamentals are now the major drivers of the market. While assuring that OPEC will continue to strive to bring stability to the oil market, he also called on other stakeholders in the industry - consumers, producers, investors - to cooperate to find a lasting solution to the volatility.

Earlier in the day, Mr. El-Badri and his team met with the Minister of Energy and Petroleum/President of PDVSA, Rafael Ramirez, and some of his top officials where they discussed the current oil market situation, data collection from Member Countries, and a number of other issues relating to the Organization.

The two parties reiterated the commitment of OPEC to working for the stability of the international oil market, noting that the current high oil prices are not influenced by market fundamentals, as the market is well supplied. They stressed that OPEC will continue to monitor global oil markets regularly and is ready to act if and when necessary to ensure market stability and adequate supplies.

The Secretary General also visited INTEVEP PDVSA, the centre of research of PDVSA as well as the Orinoco project.

Mr. El-Badri will be visiting Ecuador from Wednesday 21 May to Sunday 25 May 2008.