Maduro says Russia will invest $6B in Venezuelan oil, mining

Dec. 6 (UPI) — Venezuelan President Nicolas Maduro said Thursday, on the second day of a visit to Russia, that he obtained accords for $6 billion of investments in Venezuelan oil and mining production, as well as offers of wheat shipments, and help maintaining and improving Venezuelan weapons.

“At the end of a successful work agenda with our brothers from the Russian Federation, we have a very positive balance for the Venezuelan people. Thank you Russia! Thank you President Vladimir Putin!” Maduro tweeted, along with a video.

In the video, he said that accords include one “to guarantee investment of more than $5 billion to increase oil production in Venezuela.” In addition, there is a commitment for $1 billion to support Venezuelan mining, mostly for gold operations.

Maduro also received offers to help with the maintenance and repairs of the country’s weapons system and another agreement for up to 600,000 metric tons of wheat “for the bread of the Venezuelan people.”

A joint binational commission was expected meet in March to follow through, he added.

Maduro tweeted Wednesday that he planned to sign on contracts related to commerce, defense, finance and energy Thursday but did not provide detail. The Wednesday tweet came immediately after he met with Putin in Moscow.

“In previous years our economic relations have been through very difficult times with a significant decrease in mutual trade, but we have managed to stop this negative trend and can see some growth this year,” Putin told Maduro on Wednesday, according to the Kremlin.

According to an Organization of Petroleum Exporting Countries report, Venezuelan oil production in October declined to 1.17 million barrels per day compared with an average of 1.9 million barrels during all of the previous year, and from 2.2 million barrels per day average in 2016. The country’s production is plunging from the 1990s, when the output was more than 3 million barrels per day.

According to a March report by the United States’ Energy Information Administration, Venezuelan production is declining because of mismanagement that included missed payments to service companies, lack of working upgraders, a lack of knowledgeable managers and declines in capital expenditures.

On Nov. 2, U.S. President Donald Trump signed an executive order levying sanctions against Venezuela’s gold exports. National security adviser John Bolton said at the time that the revenue helped finance illicit activities and support criminal groups.

The Russian government website did not have information on the accords detailed by Maduro in the video.


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