Investment and collaboration in oil production between Venezuela and Russia are set to increase, President Nicolas Maduro said after a meeting with his Russian counterpart Vladimir Putin Thursday in Moscow.
“We have spoken with President Putin to broaden investment and participation of Russian companies … We have agreed the widening of investment (including) in the fields of oil exploration between Venezuela and Russia,” said Maduro.
The leaders of the two oil producing countries met to discuss strategies to combat a falling oil prices, in which a barrel is now valued at under US$50.
Over the past week, Maduro has been visiting OPEC members to discuss the declining prices. The Venezuelan leader was clear that the aim of the tour was to strengthen the economy and socio-economic development of both his own country, and of those fellow members of the OPEC bloc.
“This tour has one solo objective: to strength the income of our country through oil. Socio-economic development has been invested in, a strong OPEC has been built, this is what we are defending,” he said.
Maduro also highlighted fracking as a cause for the market woes and proposed banning it. “We should eliminate fracking because it is destructive,” he added.
Maduro traveled to Russia fresh from Algeria, where he met with President Abdelaziz Bouteflika. Maduro said that meeting had focused on “the importance of guaranteeing the stability of oil prices.” Algeria and Venezuela are among the OPEC members that have been urging a cut in oil production to counter falling prices. The price of oil has declined to under US$50 per barrel this month for the first time since 2009.
Despite boasting some of the world's largest oil reserves, unlike Venezuela and Algeria, Russia is not an OPEC member state. Instead, Moscow has observer status.
Officials in Moscow have also been skeptical of calls for oil producers to curb production in order to stabilize prices. Officials have suggested the private corporations that control close to 40 percent of Russia's petroleum sector could be resistant to cutting output.
“Many countries agree that any artificial action to change the situation on the market is impossible,” said Russian Energy Minister Alexander Novak. Russian oil output has also surged amid the price collapse.
In December 2014, Russia's production increased by 0.3 percent. By the end of the month, the country was producing 10.667 million barrels a day, according to preliminary government estimates. If accurate, that would make December's output a post-Soviet record high.