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    Norway hails progress on Venezuelan negotiations


Venezuelan, a founding member of OPEC, struggles to keep the lights on

by: Daniel Graeber

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Natural Gas & LNG News, Americas, Political, OPEC, Infrastructure, News By Country, Venezuela

Norway hails progress on Venezuelan negotiations

Sanction-strapped Venezuela has opted to join negotiations to find a political solution to its internal crises, the government of Norway said August 14.

The Norwegian government is facilitating multilateral talks on securing “an integrated solution to the crisis in the country.”

Norwegian foreign minister Ine Eriksen Soreide said parties to the negotiation over the last six months have established a framework for political negotiations.

“Initiating negotiations is challenging for both parties, and as facilitators we are well aware of this,” she said. “It will be important to Venezuela and its people, as well as for the region as a whole, to establish a long-term solution.”

A diplomatic solution for Venezuela has been on the cards for world powers so far this year. In May, media sources suggested the US government may extend sanctions waivers for Chevron and other US energy companies to continue work in Venezuela in what could be an indication of emerging detente between Washington and Caracas.

Chevron works in partnership with Petroleos de Venezuela (PdVSA) at four joint-venture projects in the country. In 2019, the last full year for which the company provided data, its Venezuelan crude oil production averaged 34,000 b/d and 7mn ft3/d in natural gas.

The political situation in Venezuela has been plagued by internal issues since contested elections in 2019 secured another term for president Nicolas Maduro.

Venezuela was a major crude oil supplier to the US and a major contributor to OPEC production. OPEC placed total Venezuelan crude oil production at only 512,000 b/d last month.

The country, which relies on hydroelectricity rather than fossil fuels for its power, struggles to keep the lights on because of problems with its ageing infrastructure. And the founding member of OPEC has been unable to provide adequate supplies of gasoline and diesel to the domestic market. Its currency, the Bolivar, is essentially worthless.

“I am hopeful that the negotiations will lead to positive, inclusive solutions for all Venezuelans,” Eriksen Soreide said.

Whether related or not, the Reuters news service reported August 15 that Venezuelan opposition leader Freddy Guevara was released from prison.