Venezuela calls for OPEC, non-OPEC meeting in January - media

CARACAS (Reuters) - Venezuela is calling for a January meeting between OPEC and non-OPEC members, local media in the South American country reported on Thursday.

“In January we’ve called for a meeting of OPEC and non-OPEC countries,” Venezuelan television station Telesur on Twitter quoted Oil Minister Eulogio del Pino as saying in an interview with the channel.

The Venezuelan oil ministry was not immediately available for further comment. For months now price-hawk Venezuela has been pushing for action to stem the slide in oil prices. Oil began falling in mid-2014 as surging output from OPEC, Russia and U.S. shale producers outpaced demand. The downturn accelerated at the end of 2014 after a Saudi-led OPEC decision to keep production high to defend global market share rather than cut output to support prices.

OPEC failed to agree on any production targets at its Dec. 4 meeting in Vienna, cementing its decision to protect market share, as the organization braces for the return of Iranian exports to the market after the lifting of Western sanctions. Saudi Arabia shows no signs of wavering in the long-term oil strategy it has orchestrated since last year. Instead, it appears willing to continue tolerating cheap crude to defend market share and wait for the market to balance without cutting supplies, oil sources and analysts say.

Reporting by Corina Pons and Alexandra Ulmer; Editing by Diane Craft