SAN JOSE, Calif.
— Venezuela’s oil and gas reserves are at an all-time high and could be enough to meet the country’s needs for at least another decade, a senior government official said Monday.
The announcement was made by Venezuela’s minister of the environment and water, who also served as the countrys energy minister and oil minister in a bid to convince investors that the country still has the capacity to meet its energy needs.
The minister also said the country has been making strides in tackling pollution and deforestation in the country and is making progress in developing its hydroelectric power plants.
Venezuela’s oil production has reached a record of 3.2 million barrels a day in 2017, compared with 1.5 million in 2016, according to state statistics.
But with inflation at over 300% and a currency controlled by the U.S., Maduro is hoping the country can export more oil to satisfy domestic demands for basic goods.
Last week, the state-run oil company PDVSA reported that crude oil prices fell by almost 50% in December, from a high of $106 a barrel in October.
More than half of the country is now dependent on foreign imports, which has been an issue for years.
The government is also seeking to sell its remaining oil reserves at a discount to the international market.
It has already sold oil to the European Union and Norway and is trying to sell some of its reserves to China.