UPDATE 2-Despite OPEC blow, Venezuela says to push until oil at $100
(Adds comments by president Nicolas Maduro)
By Alexandra Ulmer and Eyanir Chinea
CARACAS Nov 27 (Reuters) - Venezuela will keep campaigning until oil prices rebound to $100 per barrel, president Nicolas Maduro said on Thursday night after OPEC refused to cut output as the cash-strapped South American country had aggressively pushed for.
Saudi Arabia blocked calls from poorer members of the OPEC oil exporter group for production cuts to arrest a slide in global prices, sending benchmark crude plunging to a fresh four-year low of around $71.25.
The decision is a blow to Venezuela's flailing economy, widely believed to be in recession, and also highlights the country's diminished influence in OPEC, which it helped found.
But Maduro said the country with the world's largest crude reserves is undeterred.
"We didn't achieve it for now, but we will and we will keep trying until oil prices are where they're meant to be, around $100 per barrel," he said at a military event, estimating the oil price slump had curbed Venezuela's revenues by up to 40 percent.
To be sure, the country has an upward battle to win over the wealthy Gulf states that have made clear they are ready to ride out the weak prices.
The prospect of continued low oil prices, however, is disastrous for Venezuela, which is grappling to pay debt arrears to private companies ranging from airlines to oil partners, finance expensive social programs, and make major bond payments. Continuación...