January 17, 2019.- The White House National Security Council reported informing some US refiners. They are considering imposing sanctions on Venezuelan crude exports, according to S & P Global Platts, citing specialist sources.
United States imposed several sanctions and blockades on Venezuela, such as the ban on the negotiation of new debts and capital issued by the Venezuelan government and the state oil company Petróleos de Venezuela SA (PDVSA), the country's gold sector and several government officials, including the president , Nicolás Maduro; However, until now the issue of oil exports has not been addressed.
According to Joe McMonigle, a Hedgeye Risk Management analyst, cited by the portal specializing in energy and commodity markets, there is currently more pressure on the White House, by officials such as Secretary of State, Mike Pompeo, or the national security consultant, John Bolton.
"The hawks are in charge now and want to get tough with Venezuela […] If they do something, they will immediately look for the hardest thing, "says the specialist, referring to over half a million barrels imported per day from the United States.
According to data obtained by S & P Global Platts, from the United States Venezuelan crude imports remain high. In October 2018 an average of 505,870 barrels per day was purchased (b / d) and in September approximately 629,480 barrels; a number almost similar to what was bought in the previous months. The main oil refiners of the South American country in the United States are Citgo, Chevron, PBF Energy and Valero.
On the other hand, an anonymous analyst told S & P Global Platts that the resistance to imposing sanctions on the South American country is presumably because the US government does not want to be accused if it "worsens the humanitarian crisis" in Venezuela and, at its time, do not weaken the administration of Maduro.
Therefore, he believes that there will probably be more sanctions against oil companies in Venezuela and other people connected to the Venezuelan energy sector, before targeting oil exports.
In February of last year, President Maduro said that an oil embargo against Venezuela would be an "illegal" and "inconvenient for the United States" measure.
On that occasion, he said that, moreover, it would be one of the "biggest mistakes in Donald Trump's international politics". He said that in case the embargo is put in place, Venezuela "would take extra measures" and "respond" by identifying its oil in other markets.
According to the US Energy Information Administration. (EIA, for its acronym in English), Venezuela produced 1.25 million barrels a day last December, compared with 1.28 million in November.
"EIA predicts that Venezuelan production will continue to decline during the forecast period, albeit at a slower overall decline rate, while the state-owned PDVSA's financial situation remains extremely precarious," said Erik Kreil, leader of the international team. of energy analysis with VIA.
According to Kreil, by mid-2019, oil production will be less than one million barrels per day and will drop to around 700,000 barrels per day by 2020.