Venezuela has the capacity to extract an additional 400,000 barrels of oil per day to meet the oil crisis in the North American market. Reinaldo Quintero, head of the Venezuelan Oil Chamber, made the remarks in an interview with the BBC. He made the remarks after reports emerged that a number of US officials had recently met with President Nicolas Maduro’s government in Caracas, Venezuela.
A number of top officials met with President Nicolas Maduro last Saturday. The New York Times later reported that the United States had sought to have Venezuela sidelined in the wake of the Ukraine attack. US officials have visited Venezuela in search of alternative sources of fuel following the imposition of sanctions on Russia.
In an interview with the BBC, Reinaldo Quintero said that Venezuela currently produces 800,000 barrels of oil per day. However, his country has the infrastructure to increase this amount to 1.2 million barrels per day. “Through this, we will be able to meet some of the demand in the North American market,” Quintero said.
Some members of Congress are angry that US officials have traveled to Venezuela to look for alternative sources of fuel for Russia. They have criticized US efforts to re-establish relations with Russia’s ally Venezuela.
The United States has severed diplomatic ties with Venezuela, accusing Venezuelan President Nicolas Maduro of rigging the 2016 election. They recognized the country’s opposition leader, Juan Guido. The United States has imposed a number of tough sanctions on Maduro to oust him. As a result, the country’s main export product, crude oil, has stopped selling in the United States since 2019.
Quintero told the BBC he did not think the ban, imposed under US President Donald Trump, would be lifted. However, the Biden administration may issue licenses to foreign companies allowing them to operate in Venezuela. Through this, those companies will be free from sanctions.
Quintero added that this would increase foreign investment in Venezuela’s oil sector and reduce the shortage of trained workers.