TEHRAN, YJC. -- Venezuela would be open to an oil production cut if the Organisation of Petroleum Exporting Countries (OPEC) decided it was necessary to help maintain prices, Energy Minister Rafael Ramirez said Monday.
"We have a joint production level of 30 million barrels per day... that we can maintain in order to keep prices at $100 a barrel," Ramirez said ahead of an OPEC meeting in Vienna later this week.
But, Ramirez added: "If during the discussions fears are expressed that such a level of production could affect prices, we would be open to a cut in production."
Ramirez was due to head to the Austrian capital on Tuesday ahead of the meeting with his OPEC counterparts, which begins on Thursday. The oil cartel accounts for 35 percent of world oil production.
OPEC boosted production to 30.21 million barrels a day in April from 29.93 million in March while maintaining a flat forecast for global demand.
New York's main contract, West Texas Intermediate light sweet crude for delivery in July, dropped 54 cents to $93.61 a barrel Monday afternoon and Brent North Sea crude for July delivery shed 19 cents to $102.45.
The Venezuelan minister, who also heads the state-owned PDVSA oil company, said the goal of the meeting was to "defend the price of oil," adding that for Caracas, the target price was "$100 a barrel, at a minimum."
He said some OPEC member countries were overproducing for "geopolitical reasons," but did not name any specific states.
Venezuela has the world's largest proven oil reserves, according to OPEC.
The government says Venezuela produces three million barrels of oil per day, although OPEC says the figure is 2.3 million. Oil production accounts for 90 percent of the country's hard currency revenue.