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According to OPEC’s latest list of member governors for the organization, Venezuela has replaced Ivan Orellana with incumbent Vice Minister of Hydrocarbons, Angel Gonzalez Saltron, as the Latin American country lobbies vehemently for an output cap deal that could lift crude prices and help its devastated economy.
It has not yet become clear why Venezuela replaced its governor, and when exactly the change took place. Its oil ministry has not responded to a Reuters request to comment on the matter.
But the ministry said in a statement on Wednesday that Venezuela’s President and de facto sole ruler of the country, Nicolas Maduro, would tour in the coming days OPEC and non-OPEC producing countries in an attempt to push for an agreement to stabilize the market and allow prices to rise in a stable and permanent way.
Venezuela’s heavily-oil-dependent economy has been plunging since oil prices started crashing in 2014, and as Maduro is consolidating his grip over the country, inflation is soaring and people are lining up to buy necessities, if they have the money to do so.
Therefore, it should not be surprising that Venezuela is desperate for OPEC to clinch a deal on the proposed production limit of between 32.5 million bpd and 33 million bpd. Venezuela started its maneuvering for a higher oil price in early August, nearly two months before the Algiers meeting in late September that resulted in an agreement to work toward a deal to cap output.
Now Venezuela is not only pushing for a deal, but it has also joined Iraq in questioning the way OPEC estimates the output of each member state. Venezuela reported in direct communication to OPEC that its crude output was 2.334 million barrels per day in September. Based on secondary sources, OPEC estimated that Venezuela’s production was by 245,000 bpd lower, at 2.089 million bpd.
However, at the November 30 meeting to discuss the deal’s specifics, Venezuela will not be the heavyweight that will lead and swing the outcome of the negotiations.
By Tsvetana Paraskova for Oilprice.com
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Tsvetana is a writer for Oilprice.com with over a decade of experience writing for news outlets such as iNVEZZ and SeeNews.