Ecuador president says he's tired of fighting with OPEC

Ecuador's President Rafael Correa waves as he arrives for the taking office ceremony of Argentina's President Mauricio Macri at Casa Rosada Presidential Palace in Buenos Aires, Argentina, December 10, 2015. REUTERS/Marcos Brindicci

QUITO (Reuters) - Ecuador President Rafael Correa said on Wednesday that his government was “tired” of pushing OPEC to decrease output and that the nation would keep working as if the oil cartel “did not exist.”

Correa, the leader of the Organization of the Petroleum Exporting Countries’ smallest member, has long pushed for a cut in production to boost prices. However, those calls have gone unheeded by OPEC’s bigger members.

“With a small cut in production, the price could rise a lot,” Correa told reporters. “Why don’t they do it? I’m tired of insisting.”

Regional ally Venezuela asked OPEC to hold an emergency meeting to discuss steps to prop up oil prices, although delegates said it was unlikely to happen.

Oil prices have collapsed to below $28 a barrel, their lowest since 2003, on a supply glut that may worsen this year with the lifting of sanctions on Iran.

The decline is painful for all producers, particularly poorer OPEC members such as Venezuela and Ecuador.

Reporting by Alexandra Valencia; Editing by Lisa Von Ahn