Senior oil ministry officials from OPEC's 11 member states will meet Nov. 17 in Vienna to prepare a rare summit of the cartel's heads of state and discuss the oil market outlook, an OPEC spokesman said.
"They will flesh out the agenda for the heads of state summit and discuss the medium-term objective for OPEC, the oil market situation, supply and demand," said Farouk Muhammed, spokesman for the Vienna-based OPEC secretariat.
The meeting will be followed in early December by talks in Caracas of senior diplomats and oil ministry officials, plus OPEC Secretary-General Rilwanu Lukman, to complete preparatory work for the summit on March 30. OPEC oil ministers are expected to hold their next full conference in Caracas on March 27, to review a 12-month agreement to cut production.
Diplomats said Venezuela's Deputy Foreign Minister Jorge Valero will attend the Vienna talks, possibly accompanied by his counterpart at the oil ministry, but it is up to each OPEC state to decide whom to send.
Muhammed said representation would be at least at the level of OPEC's Economic Commission Board, which meets regularly to prepare reports on the oil market situation for ministers.
The Caracas summit, only the second in the cartel's 40-year history, is expected to declare a new philosophy for OPEC and approve a plan of action to guarantee stable oil prices. The Organization of the Petroleum Exporting Countries groups Saudi Arabia
, Iraq, Iran, the United Arab Emirates, Kuwait, Qatar, Libya, Nigeria, Algeria, Indonesia and Venezuela.