Venezuela to propose OPEC oil price band

CARACAS, Venezuela (AP) — Venezuela is proposing that OPEC adopt a band of prices for crude oil and hopes to return to prices of about $100 a barrel, the country’s oil minister said Thursday.

Venezuela has proposed a price band of between $80 and $120 per barrel, but it remains to be seen in discussions among OPEC members what the range of permissible prices would be, Oil Minister Rafael Ramirez told reporters.

After he spoke, the price of oil hit an eight-month low as hopes dimmed for a solution to Europe’s financial crisis. Benchmark U.S. crude lost $2.52, or 3.1 percent, to end at $77.69 per barrel in New York trading.

“The market must be protected from instability,” Ramirez said. “We’re talking about a band that has a ceiling and has a floor.”

He said Venezuela is aiming for “an average price of $100 a barrel.”

He said the South American country’s government hopes there will be consensus within the Organization of Petroleum Exporting Countries in order to stabilize prices.

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