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Venezuela Aims to Double Oil Output

Venezuela Aims to Double Oil OutputVenezuela Aims to Double Oil Output

Venezuela's Nicolas Maduro was sworn in Thursday for a second term as president of the crisis-wracked Latin American country, just days after winning an election boycotted by the opposition and decried abroad.

In a wide ranging speech, Maduro promised to defeat US sanctions and take steps to correct the course of an economy in ruins, including seeking OPEC support to nearly double its oil output, AFP reported.

Wearing a ceremonial sash in the Venezuelan colors, Maduro swore "to respect and enforce the constitution and lead all revolutionary changes" in a ceremony before the Constituent Assembly, which he set up himself last year and stacked with his supporters.

The socialist leader admitted that tighter sanctions imposed by Washington after his reelection will bring more difficulties to the oil producer, not least because they will prevent "necessary imports".

Venezuela is going through the worst economic crisis in its history. Hyperinflation has crippled the economy, leading to shortages of food and medicine. Hundreds of thousands of people have fled the country to escape the growing deprivation.

Despite sitting on the world's biggest oil reserves, lack of investment in infrastructure has led to a catastrophic fall in oil production to a 30-year low of just 1.5 million barrels per day.

Turning to Venezuela's oil minister, General Manuel Quevedo, who was attending the ceremony, Maduro said Venezuela would have to increase its output by 1 million barrels per day.

"This year we have to increase 1 million barrels. If we have to ask for support from OPEC, ask for it major general—support from Russia, China, the Arab countries, let's ask!"

Oil contributes 96% of Venezuela's foreign revenues. Production fell to 1.5 mpd in April, according to OPEC figures. However, sources cited by the oil body claim the level fell even lower, to 1.4 mpd.

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