The Secretary General of the Organization of the Petroleum Exporting Countries (OPEC) and the President of Venezuela on Thursday urged world leaders not to use oil as a political “weapon”.
Mohammed Barkindo and Nicolas Maduro chatted at the presidential palace of Miraflores in Caracas for an hour and a half, agreeing that oil should "not be politicized".
“I would like to take this opportunity to respectfully call on leaders to respect the basic principles of OPEC (…) that oil must be depoliticized, oil cannot be used as a political or punitive weapon. “, estimated Mr. Barkindo.
A position taken up in stride by the Venezuelan president who stressed that both oil and gas should be excluded “from all types of sanctions”.
Mr. Barkindo arrived in Venezuela on May 6 for a visit during which he visited several refineries in the country in the company of Venezuelan Oil Minister Tareck El Aissami. The Nigerian also met with, among others, Vice President Delcy Rodríguez.
The OPEC boss, who is due to leave his post in August, has always had good relations with the Venezuelan government since his appointment in 2016.
Venezuela, once dubbed "Saudi Venezuela" but targeted by international sanctions for several years, has some of the largest oil reserves in the world.
After having seen its production fall from 3 million barrels/day (2014) to a historically low level of 400,000 in 2020, Caracas is starting to climb back up (680,000 in 2021 according to OPEC), also benefiting from a price of the barrel up sharply.