Most of cash-strapped Venezuela was plunged in total darkness last week following a failure at the Guri hydropower plant. The outage, which not only left millions of citizens without electricity but also caused major flights disruption, could have a massive impact on the oil market, IEA said. The Paris-based group said: “The electricity crisis in Venezuela has paralysed most of the country for significant periods of time.
“Although there are signs that the situation is improving, the degradation of the power system is such that we cannot be sure if the fixes are durable.
“During the past week, industry operations were seriously disrupted and ongoing losses on a significant scale could present a challenge to the market.”
The electricity failure weighed down Venezuela’s oil exports for days, as power was restored to most parts of the country only by Tuesday this week.
And rural areas are still in the dark, with people experiencing both rolling blackouts and water shortages on nearly a daily basis.
Venezuela heavily relies on oil, being the world’s biggest oil reserve.
The country is in the midst of one of the worst humanitarian catastrophes in the world and a severe political crisis.
The leadership of Nicolas Maduro, the socialist president re-elected in 2018 for a second term, has been challenged on January 23 by the leader of the opposition, Juan Guaido.
Claiming Mr Maduro’s presidency was not legitimate, Mr Guaido urged him to call for fresh elections and proclaimed himself the interim president when the socialist leader failed to follow his advice.
Mr Guaido has since been recognised more than 50 countries, including the US and the UK, as Venezuela’s legitimate president.
Mr Maduro and Mr Guaido clashed even during the electric outage, with Mr Maduro claiming on Twitter the US and the self-proclaimed president were behind the crisis.
He wrote: “The electric war announced and directed by US imperialism against our people will be defeated.
“Nothing and no one will be able to defeat the people of Bolivar and Chavez. Maximum unity of the patriots!”
Mr Guaido responded saying the power failure was a matter of “chaos, concern and indignation”, going as far as branding the crisis “an evidence of the usurper’s inefficiency.”
He added that “light would return” once Mr Maduro left power.