Delegations from Latin American oil exporters Colombia, Ecuador, Mexico and Venezuela met in Quito on Friday to discuss a proposed output freeze and other methods to bolster international crude prices.
Ecuador’s Energy Ministry said the purpose of the meeting, which began around 1:00 p.m. CT, was to define the region’s position ahead of a meeting of OPEC and non-OPEC producers in Doha on April 17.
“We want to give a strong message to the market and support the decision to be taken in Qatar,” Ecuador’s Oil Minister Carlos Pareja told reporters.
The Ecuador meeting is the first significant sign non-OPEC producers Colombia and Mexico may be involved in an effort to bolster prices amid the global glut.
But Mexico’s government stressed it was only participating as an “observer” to share information. Its energy ministry emphasized in a statement that crude output has already declined by more than a million barrels per day in the last 12 years.
Mexican officials have said the country cannot freeze or cut output in any kind of coordinated strategy among producers to support prices. Mexico’s oil output has been falling for over a decade due to its aging fields and under-investment.
Suffering more than most producers from the 60-percent plummet in oil prices since mid-2014, leftist-ruled Venezuela and Ecuador have pushed hard for the meeting in Doha.
Venezuela’s Oil Minister Eulogio Del Pino told the Quito meeting 18 countries had confirmed their assistance in Doha, with two or three others committing verbally.
Russian Energy Minister Alexander Novak said Friday he hoped producers will agree to freeze output in Doha.
Russia, Saudi Arabia, Venezuela and Qatar agreed in February to freeze production at January levels, but said at the time the deal was contingent on other producers joining in.
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