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Saudi-Venezuela OPEC Split Plays Out Behind Closed Doors

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As Venezuelan Foreign Minister Rafael Ramirez urged fellow OPEC members to cut oil production at one point during last week’s three-hour meeting in Vienna, the split in the group quickly became clear.

Eight countries -- including those from Angola and Nigeria, which are, like Venezuela, among the hardest hit by the five-month rout in crude prices -- embraced a reduction, according to five people briefed on the meeting. Absent from that list, though, was the most important man in the room, Saudi Arabian Oil Minister Ali Al-Naimi, who led a group of four Persian Gulf nations in voicing dissent, the people said.