The president of Venezuela, Nicolás Maduro, declared this Wednesday, February 19, an “energy emergency” in the state-owned PDVSA after sanctions from the United States to a subsidiary of the Russian oil company Rosneft for marketing Venezuelan crude.
“I declare the energy emergency of the hydrocarbon industry in order to adopt the urgent and necessary measures” to protect her from an “imperialist aggression,” Maduro said from PDVSA headquarters in Caracas.
The president announced the creation of a commission of “plenipotentiary nature” for the “defense” and “restructuring” of the oil industry; almost the only support of the Venezuelan economy.
That commission has among its members the Minister of Defense, General Vladimir Padrino; Chief of the Armed Forces considered the main support of the president.
“I am putting all the power of the State, the government and the nation to enter PDVSA with everything,” said the radio and television network leader.
At the moment, Maduro did not announce concrete measures to be taken by the commission, headed by the vice president of the economic area, Tareck El Aissami, and made up of several ministers.
The decrees were passed a day after the United States sanctioned a subsidiary of the Russian state oil company Rosneft, accusing it of circumventing the sanctions against Venezuela that prevent its oil exports.
Washington has issued a battery of sanctions against the president to force him to leave power, endorsing the opposition leader Juan Guaidó -recognized as president in charge of fifty countries- in his offensive against Maduro.
Guaidó “asked for these sanctions against you, because the sanctions that the US government took yesterday against PDVSA is (…) to break PDVSA,” Maduro said.
In this new stage, the Chavista leader hopes to reach the “modest goal” of raising production to 2 million barrels per day, when Venezuelan crude oil production is below one million.
“I don’t accept any more excuses. Or we produce or produce, but Venezuela has to be a world power.”Maduro exclaimed, receiving cheers from oil workers.
However, it is not the first time that the president promises a recovery of the country’s production with the largest oil reserves, nor the restructuring of the state-owned PDVSA.
Venezuela’s oil production started 2020 down, at the end of January at 882,000 barrels per day (bpd), 25,000 less than in December, according to the Organization of Petroleum Exporting Countries (OPEC).
Secondary sources consulted by the block indicated that the pumping was 733,000 bpd in January.