- The Washington Times - Wednesday, November 26, 2008

CARACAS, VENEZUELA (AP) - Venezuela will support OPEC oil production cuts until prices increase, Oil Minister Rafael Ramirez said Wednesday.

During a visit by Russian President Dmitry Medvedev, he said Venezuela will support OPEC production cuts of 1 million barrels per day at OPEC’s upcoming meeting on Saturday. But if new cuts are not enough to increase prices, “we will keep cutting until the market stabilizes,” he said.

President Hugo Chavez has said he’s proposing OPEC countries consider setting a price range for oil to stabilize the global market.

“Let’s look for a band between $80 and $100; we’re thinking about that,” Chavez said Monday. “We think that price would be a fair price for oil.”

Venezuela is a founding member of OPEC, which cut production by 1.5 million barrels per day last month to boost prices. While Russia is not an OPEC member, Chavez has often spoken of the necessity to strengthen relations between OPEC and Russia.

Russian President Dmitry Medvedev did not respond directly when asked if he would support Chavez’s price band, but said Russia wants “just and stable” oil prices.

“These don’t need to be really low or really high” he said through an interpreter.

In Nymex trading, prices for light, sweet crude for January delivery rose slightly to settle at $54.44 a barrel on Wednesday. Oil prices have recently fallen to a third of their July value.

Among other things, Wednesday’s prices were affected by speculation that Russia _ one the world’s largest crude producers _ may join OPEC in output cuts, Energy Minister Sergei Shmatko said in New Delhi on Tuesday, Press Trust of India news agency reported.

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