French oil company Maurel & Prom will invest $400 million in an oil field in Venezuela, whose production is in free fall, President Nicolas Maduro said on Monday.
"A good deal has been concluded to increase production in an important field" in the northwest, Maduro said on state television after hosting Maurel & Prom owner Michel Hochard at the presidential palace.
Less than five years ago, Venezuela was producing almost three million barrels a day but that figure dropped to 1.17 million in October, according to secondary data published by the Organization of the Petroleum Exporting Countries (OPEC). In making his announcement, Maduro reiterated his intention to increase daily production by one million barrels a day in 2019.
Maurel & Prom's investment will give the company a 40 percent stake in the exploitation of the oil field in the region of Maracaibo Lake, oil minister Manuel Quevedo said.
In October, the French company had already spent 70 million euros ($80 million) to buy Royal Dutch Shell's share in the same field.
Oil-reliant Venezuela is enduring a crippling economic crisis and fourth year of recession exacerbated by its falling oil production. That's due to a lack of available cash to modernize oil production infrastructure, something that will be facilitated by Maurel & Prom's investment.