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Venezuelan Leader Proposes OPEC Sell Oil Cheaper to Poor Countries

Nov. 14, 2007, Caracas, Venezuela - Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez proposed OPEC should come up with a plan to sell oil to poor countries at dramatically lower prices than those paid by wealthy states.


November 14, 2007
By The Canadian Press

Nov. 14, 2007, Caracas, Venezuela – Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez proposed
OPEC should come up with a plan to sell oil to poor countries at
dramatically lower prices than those paid by wealthy states.

Chavez said late Tuesday he will ask members of the Organization
of Petroleum Exporting Countries at a summit in Saudi Arabia this
weekend to consider a plan to aid poor countries struggling with
rising oil prices.

“I would sell oil to a rich country at US$100 and to a poor
country perhaps at US$20'' a barrel, Chavez said.

“That breaks with the schemes of capitalism…OPEC could do it,
although there are hard positions on it but I'm taking the issue to
discuss it.''

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He said Venezuela is setting an example by selling oil under
preferential credit terms to various Latin American and Caribbean
countries. But he suggested with world crude prices near record
levels, oil producers all have a moral obligation to help the
neediest countries with below-market prices.

“How are you going to sell oil to Haiti, one of the poorest
countries in the world, at US$100, the same price that you sell it
to the United States? It's not right ethically,'' Chavez said in an
interview broadcast on Venezuelan television late Tuesday.

“We're going to try to obtain the support, if not of all OPEC
countries, of some of them and of other major producers to design a
formula thinking of the coming years,'' Chavez said.

OPEC supplies about four out of every 10 barrels on world oil
markets. Chavez said he believes it is time for the cartel to
“raise its level of political action.''

He said during a news conference earlier if oil producers agree
to the effort, they could also establish a US$100-billion fund that
could finance health, education and housing for poverty-stricken
countries.

“I always say it would be marvellous if we sold oil to the rich
countries at US$200 a barrel and to the poor countries at US$5 a
barrel. It would be a marvellous mechanism of redistribution of the
world's wealth but it's an explosive issue,'' Chavez said.

Leaders from many of the world's top oil producers, including
Chavez, will meet this weekend in the Saudi Arabian capital Riyadh
to discuss the challenges a potential global recession and the
weakening value of the U.S. dollar present to the international oil
market.

Chavez predicted crude prices would keep climbing to US$100 a
barrel. He warned prices could reach US$200 a barrel if the United
States were to invade Iran _ Venezuela's closest ally in the Middle
East.

Light crude for December delivery fell US$4.17 to US$90.45 a
barrel on the New York Mercantile Exchange on Tuesday. Just last
Thursday, crude prices traded as high as US$98.62 _ a record.

Venezuela is a major supplier of oil to the United States.