INTRODUCTION President Carlos Andres Perez of Venezuela, the world's fourth largest oil exporting country, says he is optimistic about the future of O.
INTRODUCTION President Carlos Andres Perez of Venezuela, the world's fourth largest oil exporting country, says he is optimistic about the future of O.P.e.C. -- the organisation of the big oil produces which was seriously split recently over new price rises. In a New Year message to his country on Saturday (1 January 1977) he declared that there was no present danger of a division of O.P.E.C., the Organisation of Petroleum Exporting Countries. His remarks folia the bitter disagreement which came to a head at the price-fixing conference of the world's 13 major oil exporters in Qatar a fortnight ago (17 December 1976).
The President's speech from the Miraflores Palace in Caracas marked the first anniversary of the nationalization of Venezuela's oil industry, owned previously by foreign companies.
The speech was heard by Cabinet members and other leading national figures. President Perez, who recently completed a six-nation tour of Europe which resulted in the signing of a Soviet-Venezuelan oil exchange agreement, said that oil profits for 1976 were about GBP127 million (900 million bolivares).
The 54-year-old President, though hopeful about the immediate prospects of O.P.E.C also shoed his appreciation of the realities behind the glitter of the oil boom. The recent O.P.E.C. meeting was a warning, he said, which had caused the government to reflect, and at the same time obliged it to think that oil bonanza would not last for ever -- even though in the short term there was nothing to fear. President Perez said that the immediate future of O.P.E.C. was not in danger, and the difference of opinion over price rises would be overcome. It is the second time in little more than a week that he has sought to defend the unity of O.P.E.C. Speaking at a parliamentary ceremony on Friday (24 December) he said that the differences in Qatar would be quickly settled, and added that nobody, however pessimistic, could see the disagreements as indicating the break-up of O.P.E.C.