Venezuela 'optimistic' ahead of OPEC output cut talks

Venezuelan Oil Minister Eulogio del Pino said Monday he was "optimistic" that an OPEC meeting this week in Vienna will reach agreement on oil production cuts to boost prices.

"I am optimistic" ahead of "this very important meeting", he said, quoted by the Algerian news agency APS, on his arrival in Algiers where he met his counterpart Noureddine Boutarfa.

The two ministers were to travel on to Moscow before Wednesday's meeting in Vienna on a mission to try to convince non-OPEC oil producer Russia to join in the output cuts.

"The aim is to meet with the Russian authorities and to share our strategy with them," del Pino said. "OPEC and non-OPEC countries must take action."

Boutarfa said on a visit to Iran last weekend that OPEC was prepared to cut output by 1.1 million barrels per day (bpd) if non-members reduce by 600,000 bpd, Iranian media reported.

President Vladimir Putin said last week Russia was ready to "freeze production", but stopped short of promising a cut.

Russia, its finances hit by low oil prices and Western sanctions, is pumping some 11 million bpd, a level not seen since Soviet days.

For Venezuela, the collapse in oil prices over the past two years has compounded its economic and political crisis.

In September, the 14-member Organization of Petroleum Exporting Countries agreed at an informal Algiers meeting to cut output.

Details of the deal and on how to distribute the cuts have been left for the formal meeting in Vienna.

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