President Carlos Andres Perez of Venezuela has asked the major oil exporting nations of the world to increase their prices by five to eight per cent.
GV President Perez shaking hands with delegates
GV Conference ZOOM IN TO SV Conference President EI Thani and President Perez
CU Saudi Arabian Oil Minister Sheikh Yamani
SV Conference president introducing Perez and delegates applauding as President Perez stands up
SV & SCU President Perez speaking (3 shots)
President Perez suggested to delegates that if a majority of members inclined towards a freeze because of the assumed damage higher oil prices would cause the world economy -- and if industrialised countries were not prepared to cancel Third World debt -- then OPEC should agree to a five to eight per cent increase. This would be totally dedicated to payment of the debts of Third World countries without oil.
Saudi Arabia and Iran -- the world's two largest oil exporting countries, and both committed to a price freeze -- could block or undermine a price increase sought by other OPEC members. Some observers believe that the ministers may even postpone a decision, if no consensus emerges. At the equivalent OPEC meeting last year, 11 of the 13 members put up prices by 10 per cent. Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates raised prices by five per cent, coming into line some months later.
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Background: President Carlos Andres Perez of Venezuela has asked the major oil exporting nations of the world to increase their prices by five to eight per cent. Opening the 50th Ministerial Conference of OPEC in Caracas on Tuesday (20 December). President Perez said such an increase could be used initially to help third world countries pay off debts.
SYNOPSIS: Thirteen OPEC members have been attending the two-day conference and received a warm welcome from their Venezuelan host, President Perez. The Ministers have been meeting to fix prices from January first next year and are reported to be divided on raising charges or freezing them.
Iraqi Oil Minister Tayeh Abdul-Karim has boycotted the conference as he believes a prior agreement has already been reached among the five major producers on the Gulf to freeze prices. Sheikh Yamani, the Saudi Arabian Oil Minister, supports a price freeze and told reporters on Monday (19 December) that there would be no increase at the Caracas meeting.
But he warned that the Western world must expect the price of oil in 10 years' time to be much higher than it is today. President Perez appears to accept that oil exporters are likely to keep oil prices frozen at present levels for 1978. But Venezuela, while accepting a consensus, will urge other delegations to raise prices.