When asked whether the ongoing crisis in Venezuela will have an impact on the price of oil, Branco said, "I don’t think so". Branco explained Venezuela in the late 1990s produced more than 3 million barrels of oil per day, but now is barely producing 1 million barrels of oil per day.
“While Venezuela is decreasing its production continuously, it’s not a shock [to the world energy market]. Others are increasing production. Ourselves, we’ll be increasing production”, Branco said. "So, I think it will not cause any impact on the global economy". Branco expressed hope Venezuela will succeed in freeing itself from the current situation, which he characterized as “very damaging for the Venezuelan people".
The United States has imposed numerous rounds of sanctions against Venezuela in response to the political developments in the country. In January, the United States blocked $7 billion in assets belonging to Venezuela’s oil company PDVSA.
The political crisis in Venezuela escalated in late January, when opposition leader Juan Guaido declared himself to be the country's interim president. The United States and 54 countries have recognized Guaido, but Russia, China, Bolivia, Turkey and a number of other countries have voiced their support for constitutionally elected Maduro and his government as Venezuela’s only legitimate authority.
Maduro was sworn in for his second presidential term in January after winning the May 2018 elections. He has dubbed Guaido as a puppet of the United States and accused Washington of attempting to stage a coup d’etat in Venezuela to exact a change in government and claim the country’s resources.
OPEC Has No Impact on Oil Price Trend
Meanwhile, Branco also told Sputnik on the sidelines of the CERAWeek conference on Tuesday that the Organization of the Petroleum Exporting Countries (OPEC) has no impact on the trend of global oil price.
"I think that OPEC is a group, an important producer of oil, and has continued to be that over many years", Branco said. "But, frankly, I don’t think that OPEC has any impact on the trend of oil price".
On 7 December, participants of the OPEC-non-OPEC 2017 oil output reduction deal agreed to reduce overall production by 1.2 million barrels per day starting in 2019, with a view of signing a charter on future long-term cooperation in the first quarter of 2019.
OPEC member states will reduce production by 800,000 barrels per day and non-OPEC countries by 400,000 barrels per day, according to the agreement.
Branco said Petrobras will probably design plans to conduct work globally in the future, but reiterated that at present the company is only interested in domestic projects in Brazil. In addition, Branco noted that Petrobras is set to increase production this year.
"Petrobras has a goal to increase production to 2.8 million barrels per day, much based on the development of the pre-salt this year", Branco said. The company has a plan to increase production over the next five years at an annual rate of 5 percent, Branco added.