PORLAMAR, Venezuela, Nov 5 (Reuters) - Saudi Oil Minister Ali al-Naimi and Venezuelan Foreign Minister Rafael Ramirez have arrived at a climate conference on Venezuela’s Margarita Island and were expected to meet later on Wednesday.
“Of course we’re going to meet. We’re great friends!” Ramirez told reporters in brief comments after his arrival at Porlamar, the main city of Margarita on Wednesday.
Naimi apparently arrived on Tuesday.
Though recently appointed foreign minister, Ramirez, the former oil minister and head of state oil company PDVSA, remains Venezuela’s OPEC delegation head and has led calls for an emergency meeting due to global price declines.
Ramirez said he and Naimi would discuss “climate change,” but didn’t answer whether they would also discuss OPEC policy.
Debate over oil price policy is at a critical stage ahead of the next scheduled meeting of the Organization of the Petroleum Exporting Countries at the end of this month.
After his Venezuela visit, Naimi plans to be in Acapulco, Mexico, for a major natural gas conference.
Although the stated purpose is not to discuss oil prices, his travel plans come at a pivotal moment for Saudi Arabia and OPEC, which is working out how to respond to a deepening global supply glut.
The trip has evoked memories of the late 1990s, when Naimi helped broker a deal with Venezuela and Mexico to curb production and revive prices that had fallen nearly $10 a barrel.
But while Venezuela has already begun pressing for output curbs, the oil cartel’s core Gulf members have indicated they see no need for action. (Writing by Andrew Cawthorne; Editing by Alexandra Ulmer and Leslie Adler)