CARACAS, Sept 14 (Reuters) - Venezuelan President Nicolas Maduro is set to speak about OPEC on Monday evening after an international tour to push for a heads of state meeting on low oil prices.
A senior government source close to the OPEC delegation said Maduro would make an announcement related to Venezuela’s efforts to call a heads of state summit.
If one is called, it would be only the fourth in history. The last took place in Saudi Arabia in 2007.
Maduro has for months pushed for an emergency OPEC meeting, coordinating with Russia to curb tumbling prices, but Saudi Arabia and other prominent producers dismissed the idea.
In recent weeks Maduro said he had gained some traction in calling for a heads of state meeting.
“Today, on the 55th anniversary of the creation of OPEC, we will defend the fair price of national crude,” said oil minister and president of state oil company PDVSA Eulogio del Pino on Twitter.
He is scheduled to participate in the event.
The South American nation has suffered heavily from low prices as it receives 96 percent of its foreign income from oil exports.
However, wealthy members of the Organization of the Petroleum Exporting Countries in the Gulf have driven a strategy shift since last year to allow prices to fall in order to maintain their market share.
A severe recession and shortages of basic products have heightened Maduro’s need for a market recovery, especially ahead of a Dec. 6 parliamentary election.
The socialist president said that the minimum price should be $70 per barrel.
Venezuela’s oil last week averaged $41.08 per barrel.
One of late President Hugo Chavez’s first acts as president was to travel to OPEC member states and invite leaders to Caracas in 2000 for their second-ever summit.
Heads of state meetings are called through political means so do not require the consensus of all members which is the case for extraordinary meetings, a former Venezuela governor to OPEC told Reuters.
But the presence of Russia and Saudi Arabia would be essential for the meeting to have impact over prices, he added.
Saudi Arabia has said it sees no need to hold a heads of state summit nor interfere in the oil market.
Russia said it was prepared to discuss measures aimed at oil price stabilization with OPEC and other key producers.
Monday’s event will take place at PDVSA’s headquarters in Caracas and is scheduled for 5pm (5.30pm EDT), though government events often begin late. (Reporting by Alexandra Ulmer and Girish Gupta; Writing by Girish Gupta; Editing by Andrew Hay)