Venezuela's proposal for oil-producing countries to freeze oil output could stabilize prices in the next few months if adopted, President Nicolas Maduro said Friday.
Venezuela, whose economy has been hit hard by the drop in oil prices in the past two years, suggested members of the Organization of Petroleum Exporting Countries (OPEC) and other oil producers agree on output-cutting measures.
"Venezuela has proposed an initial agreement to OPEC and non-OPEC countries, and I am very optimistic that this agreement is going to be signed very soon, and it is going to provide a first level of stability, and realistic and fair prices," said Maduro.
Maduro made the remarks after signing an accord with India's state oil company ONGC Videsh.
Once the agreement is signed, those countries could take second-step measures by adopting "new mechanisms and formulas to ... balance the market and prices," said Maduro.
"We have to guarantee this first step has a positive outcome right now in November, for the good of us all. It's a win-win situation," he said, referring to the upcoming OPEC members' ministerial meeting on Nov. 30 in Austria, where members are expected to reach a consensus on the production freeze.
"A price of 70 (US dollars per barrel) was long ago accepted by the market. A price of 80 benefits the global economic system, does no harm to anybody ... and benefits energy stability," he added.
Maduro argued the oil price should not be subject to the whims of market speculation.
"It's not fair ... for us to do the investing and exploring, apply the technology, maintain the workers, the drilling and the pipelines, and extract the oil, and for speculators in the world to say how much oil should cost," the Venezuelan president said.
Maduro, whose government is in talks with the conservative opposition over the political crisis partly sparked by the country's battered economy, said he would present his economy-boosting plans to political opponents to get them on board.