Venezuelan oil minister says OPEC cannot allow a price war

Venezuela's Oil Minister Eulogio del Pino attends an extraordinary ministerial meeting of the Gas Exporting Countries Forum (GECF) in Tehran November 21, 2015. REUTERS/Raheb Homavandi/TIMA

TEHRAN (Reuters) - OPEC cannot allow an oil price war and must take action to stabilise the crude market soon, Venezuelan oil minister Eulogio del Pino said on Sunday.

"OPEC has to do something very soon ... We don't agree with the position that says the market some way is going to dictate the price of crude oil. We don't agree with that position of Saudi Arabia," del Pino said on the sidelines of the Gas Exporting Countries Forum (GECF) Summit in Tehran.

"Iran is announcing its production is going to increase as soon as they lift the sanctions and we need to do something. We (OPEC) cannot allow going into a war of prices. We need to stabilise the market."

When asked how low oil prices could go in 2016 if OPEC doesn't change its policy, he said: "Mid-20s."

Del Pino also said Russia will not attend an informal OPEC meeting on Dec. 3.

Venezuela had made a proposal in Vienna on Oct. 21 about an

equilibrium price that could stabilise the market, del Pino said, repeating that the equilibrium price where future investments can continue to replace a natural decline in production is at the level of $88.

He said low oil prices will affect future oil investments which could mean not meeting future demand growth for oil and that could lead to a spike in prices later.

"And ‎we don't want that kind of cycle of low price and high price, it is not good for consumers or producers. We need to send to the market a signal of stabilisation, and that signal of stabilisation is not what we are doing now.... We are destroying the price of crude oil. The speculative market is the one that is controlling the market," he added.

(Reporting by Rania El Gamal and Sam Wilkin; Editing by Catherine Evans and Adrian Croft)