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Venezuela Seeks to Cut Oil Production Costs

Venezuela's state-run oil company, PDVSA, says it plans to cut production costs by 40 percent to make up for falling crude oil prices amid the global financial crisis.

Company president Rafael Ramirez said in a radio interview that cost-cutting measures will include renegotiating deals with contractors that were reached when prices climbed to record high levels last year.

Ramirez, who is also the country's energy and oil minister, said Venezuela will call on fellow OPEC members at talks later this month (in Austria) to curb production to force prices up to $70 per barrel.

Oil has been trading at about $40 per barrel in New York.

Venezuela is a major oil producer and has seen the price of its oil plunge sharply to $36.80 per barrel in recent days.

Crude oil prices peaked at a record $147 per barrel last July.

Some information for this report was provided by AFP, AP and Reuters.