Venezuela’s president Nicolas Maduro has declared that the country will increase its crude oil production by 1 million bpd along with production increases in other commodity sectors, TASS reports, quoting Maduro who spoke to a Lebanese television channel.
"We are using difficulties that resulted from sanctions to create a modern, self-sustainable economy, and call upon investors from Arabic and Islamic countries to invest their money into developing the oil and gas industry," Maduro said, adding Venezuela will also triple its gold production as well as the production of other metals.
The South American country that is home to the world’s largest crude oil reserves is currently in a split-personality state, with the president of the National Assembly—dominated by the opposition—declaring himself interim president on constitutional grounds and calling for new elections. Juan Guaido also formed a new, interim, government, so Venezuela currently has two presidents and two governments.
Most South American countries along with the United States, Canada and most of the European Union have recognized Guaido as the legitimate head of the Venezuelan state but Maduro does not seem to be willing to cede power without a major fight. Many believe the key to a regime change in Venezuela is the military but for the time being, the army seems to remain loyal to the Maduro government.
All this, accelerated by the latest round of U.S. sanctions against Venezuela’s state oil company PDVSA, have further aggravated the already grave situation of the country’s oil industry. A Wood Mackenzie analyst earlier this month forecast Venezuela’s oil production could drop to 900,000 bpd, from about 1.2 million bpd currently. The U.S. State Department, on the other hand, expects it to fall to as little as half a million barrels daily by the end of the year under the pressure of sanctions.
By Irina Slav for Oilprice.com
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