January 27, 2016 / 1:22 AM / 3 years ago

Venezuela oil minister to visit OPEC, non-OPEC countries

CARACAS (Reuters) - Venezuela’s oil minister will tour OPEC and non-OPEC countries in a bid to drum up support for joint action to stem the tumble in crude prices, President Nicolas Maduro announced on Tuesday night.

“I’ve given the order to minister Eulogio del Pino for him to immediately start a tour of OPEC and non-OPEC countries,” the leftist leader said in a televised broadcast.

The Organization of the Petroleum Exporting Countries is considering a request from cash-strapped Venezuela to hold an emergency meeting to discuss steps to prop up prices, and Venezuela has called for a meeting of OPEC and non-OPEC nations in February.

“We must stop this madness,” a solemn-faced Maduro said about oil prices, urging “clear, consequential and coordinated” action.

It was not immediately clear what countries del Pino, who is also the president of state oil company PDVSA [PDVSA.UL], would visit.

OPEC kingpin Saudi Arabia and top non-OPEC producer Russia are showing signs of flexibility about agreeing to tackle an oil glut that has pushed prices to 12-year lows, the oil minister of Iraq said on Tuesday.

OPEC Secretary-General Abdullah al-Badri said other producers should work with the group to tackle swollen global stockpiles so prices can recover, essentially reiterating OPEC’s position that it would consider cutting output only if others pitched in.

Moscow, seen as key to any agreement, has so far refused to cooperate. But Leonid Fedun, vice-president of Lukoil, Russia’s second-largest oil producer, was quoted as saying on Monday Moscow needed to start working with OPEC.

Reporting by Alexandra Ulmer and Eyanir Chinea; Editing by Sandra Maler

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