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Venezuela’s Chavez says oil price “stabilized”

Motorist drive past a banner with the picture of Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez along a highway in Caracas August 25, 2010. (Credit: Reuters/Jorge Silva)

August 28, 2010

(KATAKAMI / Reuters) – Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez said on Friday that oil prices were stabilizing, giving his South American OPEC member nation’s crude an average barrel price of nearly $70 this year.

“The price of oil recovered and it’s more or less stabilized,” he said in comments carried live on TV.

“We had thought it could collapse again this year, there was a threat it might fall to $40. But no, thanks among other things to OPEC and the oil production cut, it’s nearly $70, the Venezuelan oil,” he said.

Venezuela’s crude has averaged $69.60 so far this year, according to the Energy Ministry.

Venezuelan crudes, which are mostly heavy and high in sulfur, trade at a discount to benchmark grades such as West Texas Intermediate because of their low quality.

U.S. oil prices rose a third straight day on Friday, with crude for October delivery at $75.17 a barrel.

Chavez reiterated that Venezuela was producing about 3 million barrels a day, but said there should be a “leap” in production thanks to new projects in the Orinoco belt towards the end of 2011.

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