Venezuela energy minister: $70/bbl oil by year-end

CARACAS Wed Jul 29, 2009 3:47pm EDT

CARACAS (Reuters) - Venezuela Oil Minister Rafael Ramirez said on Wednesday he expected the price of oil to reach $70 a barrel by the end of the year.

"We are still influenced by market instability, but that (price) projection is happening, and there will be a gradual recovery of oil," Ramirez said.

He also told reporters in Caracas that he saw international oil stocks falling.

"We expect the strong fall in inventories to continue," Ramirez said.

Venezuela, a member of the Organization of the Petroleum Exporting Countries, is one of the world's largest exporters of oil.

(Reporting by Fabian Cambero; Writing by Raymond Colitt; Editing by Walter Bagley)

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