Lagos — The Secretary General of the Organization of the Petroleum Exporting Countries, OPEC, Dr. Mohammed Barkindo, has said the organisation will not meddle in the political crisis between Venezuela and the United States of America.
His comment came following last week’s call by Venezuela’s incumbent President Nicholas Maduro, for the country to be saved from US sanctions.
In an interview with Forbes, Barkindo said OPEC will remain “apolitical”.
Venezuela is facing heightened political tensions and moves against its incumbent president, who took over the presidency when his late mentor Hugo Chavez died in 2013.
In recent years, Venezuela has experienced economic collapse, accompanied by acute food shortages and inflation reaching at least 800,000%. In its wake, Maduro launched alleged crackdown on the opposition. This led opposition leader Juan Guaidó to declare himself “interim president” on January 23, a move backed by the U.S., European Union and several of Venezuela’s regional neighbors, including Brazil and Argentina.
As the Guaidó-Maduro tussle continues, the country has seen power blackouts, U.S. sanctions and a decline in its oil production to less than 1 million barrels per day (bpd), which could fall below 700,000 bpd next year, according to Rystad Energy’s projections, should the impasse and sanctions continue.