Venezuelan Oil Minister Manuel Quevedo said on Thursday that US sanctions against the OPEC country are an attack on the stability of the global oil market. PDVSA photo.
US sanctions imposed on Venezuela following recent election
Venezuela’s oil minister says US sanctions recently imposed on Venezuela by the Trump administration are not just having an impact in the South American country. Manuel Quevedo says the sanctions are an attack against the stability of the global oil market.
On Thursday during a speech at the OPEC meeting in Vienna, Quevedo said the sanctions are “a direct attack against the stability of the oil market”. He described the sanctions as an “unconventional war with the world’s largest oil consumer” – the United States.
The country’s state-run oil company, PDVSA, is struggling with oil tankers waiting to load at the country’s two ports, a lack of money for spare parts and equipment and a shrinking workforce as employees flee Venezuela due to hyperinflation and a crippling recession.
“Venezuela’s situation should not be ignored. Venezuela could be any of your countries,” Quevedo told his fellow OPEC ministers.
Quevedo said Venezuela now produces about 1.5 million barrels per day (b/d) of crude. As recently as 2016, Venezuela produced about 2.373 million b/d, according to Thomson Reuters data.
On May 22, President Trump signed new economic sanctions against Venezuela one day after Nicolás Maduro, the country’s socialist president, was re-elected in what has been condemned as a fraudulent election.
The US sanctions were put in place as part of a campaign to pressure Maduro to make political and market reforms, according to Trump.
At the time, President Trump did not impose any new oil sanctions, but the US order did take steps to hamper Venezuela’s ability to liquidate assets. According to NPR, Trump said the executive order would keep the Venezuelan government from conducting “fire sales” of its assets.
“[This] money belongs to the Venezuelan people,” said Trump in May.
Venezuela’s crude is very heavy by international standards. Much of it must be process by specialized domestic and international refineries. The United States has traditionally been a big buyer of Venezuelan crude, but production declines have reduced the amount of crude Venezuela can offer at market.
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