December 31, 2015 / 7:12 PM / 4 years ago

Venezuela urges January meeting of OPEC, non-OPEC members - media

Venezuela's Oil Minister Eulogio del Pino attends an extraordinary ministerial meeting of the Gas Exporting Countries Forum (GECF) in Tehran November 21, 2015. REUTERS/Raheb Homavandi

CARACAS (Reuters) - Venezuela is pressing for meeting in January between OPEC and non-OPEC members, as the South American country pushes for action to stem the slide in oil prices, its oil minister said on local television on Thursday.

“With President (Nicolas Maduro) we’ve been discussing the need to urge leaders of OPEC and non-OPEC countries to hold an urgent meeting in January,” Venezuelan Oil Minister Eulogio del Pino said in an interview with television station Telesur.

Venezuela is a member of the Organization of the Petroleum Exporting Countries (OPEC) which is now comprised of 13 countries.

“Joint action by all oil-producing countries is defense of a right price for a non-renewable natural resource,” stressed del Pino, adding that current oversupply could drag down oil prices by some $10.

Further details were not immediately available.

Oil prices rose on Thursday but fell as much as 35 percent for in 2015 after a race to pump by Middle East crude producers and U.S. shale oil drillers created an unprecedented global glut that may take through 2016 to clear. 

Oil prices 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 following an OPEC decision led by Saudi Arabia 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.

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

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