Ministers from the Oil Producing and Exporting Countries begin a meeting in Venezuela on Tuesday (20 December) to decide next year's oil prices.
Ministers from the Oil Producing and Exporting Countries begin a meeting in Venezuela on Tuesday (20 December) to decide next year's oil prices. Latest indications are that Saudi Arabia and Iran will win their fight to impose a price freeze.
SYNOPSIS: The conference will be held at Macuto, near the capital, Caracus. Waiting to greet the delegates at Caracas airport was Venezuela's Oil Minister Valentin Hernandez.
They began arriving just after a meeting of oil workers' trade unions ended in the Iraqi capital of Baghdad. The meeting recommended nationalisation of oil industries to boost development and social progress in producer countries. Iraq called for a 23 per cent oil price raise in the new year. But observers say that an increase of that size is out of the question this time. A much stronger faction in OPEC, led by Saudi Arabia and Iran, is arguing for a price freeze in 1978. And still other nations, including Venezuela, want only a small increase.
Helicopters hovered over Caracas airport as part of security which was the most rigorous in Venezuela's history.
The authorities were mindful of a terrorist attack two years ago on a similar OPEC meeting in Vienna, the Austrian capital. Three people were killed in the raid.
For three days, the delegates will try to reach agreement on whether prices should be raised, and if so, by how much. All the 13 countries taking part are believed to have agreed that any decision should be reached by consensus.