Venezuela proposes non-OPEC oil producers attend Vienna meeting


CARACAS (Reuters) - Venezuela has proposed that non-OPEC oil producers attend the group's June meeting in Vienna to continue "dialogue and coordination," according to a letter from the South American country's oil minister to the Qatari energy minister, who is also the current OPEC president.

A deal to freeze oil output by OPEC and non-OPEC producers fell apart in Doha this month. Price hawk Venezuela had been pushing for a deal to boost prices and is now trying to revive negotiations.

In a letter to Qatar's Mohammed al-Sada dated April 21, Del Pino floats the idea that major oil producers who attended the Doha conference attend the Vienna OPEC Ministerial Conference as observers.

"We formally require of your kind support, as President of OPEC Conference, to activate mechanisms for consultations among all OPEC Member Countries," reads the letter, seen by Reuters.

Venezuelan Oil Minister Eulogio Del Pino told Reuters on Tuesday that "we've formally proposed to continue Doha discussions in Vienna."

Overcoming tensions between OPEC's de facto leader Saudi Arabia and Iran will be a tall order, however.

Earlier this month, Saudi Arabia surprised markets by saying it wanted all members of the Organization of the Petroleum Exporting Countries to take part in the planned output freeze, including Iran, which was absent from the talks.

Tehran has refused to stabilise production, seeking to regain market share after sanctions on it were lifted.

(Reporting by Alexandra Ulmer; Editing by James Dalgleish)