World oil markets are well supplied and there is no reason for OPEC to increase production despite a recent surge in prices, Venezuela's oil minister said on Wednesday.
There is enough oil in the market, Rafael Ramirez told Reuters on Wednesday while visiting Uruguay.
Asked whether there was a need to increase output, the OPEC minister said: We believe not.
Ramirez's comments echoed recent statements by other OPEC ministers, who have said the group will not increase production at its next meeting on September 11.
When we have the OPEC meeting in September we will be able to make a more exact determination of the market situation, Ramirez said.
Members of the producer group have said high prices reflect speculation on geo-political affairs rather than short supplies. They say inventories stocks in industrialized nations remain high and add any fresh supplies would go cause them to build further.
But some analysts and consumer nations have warned supplies may have be stretched later this year ahead of the Northern Hemisphere winter unless OPEC ramps up output.
Falling crude stockpiles in the United States over the past month as refiners crank up runs have helped support prices in the world's top consuming nation.
U.S. crude oil prices surged to record highs of $78.77 last week before falling to around $72 on Wednesday.
U.S. Energy Secretary Sam Bodman on Wednesday reiterated he wanted OPEC to boost production.
We're continuing to struggle with higher prices, prices higher than either they or we would like, so I think it's time for them to look at it, Bodman said. That's all. I've encouraged them to do that.