Chavez: Venezuela concerned about lower oil prices

CARACAS, Venezuela (AP) — Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez says his government is concerned some fellow OPEC member countries are violating their quotas by producing too much oil.

Chavez says Venezuelan Oil Minister Rafael Ramirez will bring up those concerns at next week's OPEC meeting in Austria.

Chavez didn't name any countries he thinks are exceeding production quotas. But Saudi Arabia, for one, has been pumping more oil to offset supply losses from Iran.

The price of U.S. benchmark crude ended the week at $84.10 a barrel in New York, near its lowest level since October.

Chavez says OPEC members should maintain what he calls a "fair level" of oil prices. He says that should be about $100 a barrel.

Chavez's socialist government relies heavily on the country's oil earnings to pay for public programs.

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