Members of the Organisation of Petroleum Exporting Countries (OPEC) open a conference in Doha, Qatar, on Wednesday (15 December) to set basic oil prices for 1977.
GV Doha harbour
GV PAN FROM desert TO Doha city
GV EXTERIOR Gulf Hotel
GV Ecuador's Minister of Oil Colonel Rene Vargas, down steps of aircraft and greeted (2 shots)
SV Secretary-General, Chief Meschach Otokiti Feyide, talking to reporters
SV Libyan Minister of Oil, Ezzedin Mabruk, down aircraft steps and greeted
Security at the Gulf Hotel is very strict. Qatar authorities are trying to ensure there is no repetition of the incident last year in Vienna when OPEC ministers were held to ransom for two days by pro-Palestinian guerrillas. At this week's conference, ministers will meet in a steel-shuttered room on the seventh floor of the luxurious hotel.
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Background: Members of the Organisation of Petroleum Exporting Countries (OPEC) open a conference in Doha, Qatar, on Wednesday (15 December) to set basic oil prices for 1977. On Monday (13 December), oil ministers started arriving in the Gulf state for the conference.
SYNOPSIS: Inhabitants of Qatar have traditionally lived from pearl-diving, fishing and some nomadic herding. But the discovery of oil in the 1930s brought about major changes. The former stony and barren land became a prosperous nation. However, Qatar and other countries are now suffering from the inflation in the industrialised nations and some OPEC members say there should be a large oil price increase to offset the effects.
The OPEC ministers will meet at the Gulf Hotel in Doha. Many are seeking an increase in oil prices but there are wide divisions as to how much. One of the first to arrive was Ecuador's Oil Minister, Colonel Rene Vargas. He told newsmen that his country would seek a 10 to 15 percent increase. Ecuador believes that a higher price rise could interrupt the recovery of the Western powers and further weaken the developing countries. OPEC's Secretary-General, Chief Meschach Otokiti Feyide, would not comment on the prospects of such a rise.
Libya's Oil Minister, Ezzedin Mabruk, also arrived on Monday. His country is OPEC's major north African oil producer and traditionally a price "hawk" within the organisation. But Mr. Mabruk said Libya favoured a moderate price increase. Calls for a large increase will be strong though after an oil price freeze of 15 months.