Rafael Ramirez speaks during a conference in Caracas. - AFP Photo

CARACAS: Venezuela said Tuesday it would oppose any increase in OPEC oil output because of the Nato air campaign against Libya.

Some OPEC members have expressed support for increased production quotas to make up for production lost as a result of the conflict in Libya, a member of the 12-nation Organisation of Petroleum Exporting Countries.

But Venezuelan Oil Minister Rafael Ramirez said there should be no production hikes “above all because we cannot give a blank check to Nato so that it can bomb any nation over oil.

“We are not going to do that; Venezuela will not do that,” Ramirez said.

Venezuela's President Hugo Chavez has sided with Libya's Moamer Qadhafi in the conflict, contending that the true aim of the Nato air campaign is to gain control of Libya's oil.

OPEC's member states, who together account for 40 per cent of the world oil supply, decided at a meeting in Vienna June 8 to leave its official output target at 24.84 million barrels a day, where it has stood since January 2009.

“Right now the deciding factor is the economic situation, as well as what is going on in Libya,” Ramirez added, noting that “what is happening is extremely serious.”

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