Venezuela “is ready” to supply the world market with oil and gas, President Nicolas Maduro said, condemning the energy crisis caused by sanctions imposed on Russia after its invasion of Ukraine, AFP reports.
“Venezuela is ready and willing to fulfill its role and supply in a stable and safe way the oil and gas market that the world economy needs,” Maduro said at an event organized as part of the visit to Caracas by the Secretary General of the Organization of the Petroleum Exporting Countries. the oil exporting countries (OPEC) Haisam al-Ghais.
Maduro said his government had restored the oil industry, whose production had reached historic lows after years of suspended investment and lack of maintenance. Today it is about 700,000 barrels per day, compared to 2.3 million barrels per day in 2002, notes AFP.
In 2019, the US imposed a number of sanctions on Caracas, including an embargo on Venezuelan oil, after Maduro was re-elected in 2018 for a second term in a vote boycotted by the opposition. In May of this year, President Joe Biden’s administration announced a limited easing of some of those sanctions, at a time when energy prices soared because of the war in Ukraine.
The Chavista president condemned the energy crisis caused by sanctions against Russia, which he described as “irrational, unjustified (and) illogical”.
Russia, Europe’s leading supplier, has sharply cut gas supplies, raising fears of shortages and rising prices. Maduro called for a “fair, balanced price” of $100 a barrel and repeated his call for foreign oil companies to produce in Venezuela.
Al Gheis, for his part, said OPEC was facing the “most serious, most critical” challenges since its creation 62 years ago.