Leaders from the Organization of the Petroleum Exporting Countries (OPEC) kicked off a rew round of meetings in Vienna Friday, where Venezuelan President Nicolas Maduro is expected to push for a five percent output cut to increase prices.
“Our (oil) minister Eulogio del Pino will put forth a very clear proposal to respect production ceilings ... and examine a five percent cut in production,” Maduro said earlier this week ahead of the summit in Austria. “The hour has come to put the oil market in order.”
Venezuela has long been urging OPEC to make production cuts, since the price of a barrel of oil plunged in June 2014, with prices cut roughly in half and almost reaching levels last seen in the 2009 recession.
However, OPEC policy has so far been driven by Saudi Arabia's insistence on maintaining the current output levels to defend market share.
The drop in prices has drastically hurt oil-producing countries, particularly countries like Venezuela, Ecuador, Brazil, Nigeria, Russia and Iran.
Venezuela, which obtains 96 percent of its foreign revenue from oil exports, has suffered from a tumble in oil prices to $45 per barrel from as much as $115 a barrel some 18 months ago, reported Reuters.
Behind closed doors, Saudi Arabia has raised the possibility of reducing output but it has attached strict conditions, according to reports by the Financial Times. Some of these restrictions include convincing non-OPEC members Iran and Iraq to join the cuts, a move analysts said would be hard to achieve.
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