Venezuela Looks To Play Mediator Between OPEC And Russia

Venezuela is in discussions with OPEC and Russia about the current oil price collapse, Nicolas Maduro said on Thursday at a press conference shown on Twitter, according to Russian news agency TASS.

According to Maduro, Venezuela reached out to its “partners” to take steps toward opening up a new dialogue between OPEC and non-OPEC nations.

Venezuela, an oil-dependent economy that has seen its production drop by half over the last couple of years, has already been dealing with low oil prices, with the price of its Merey falling almost $20 per barrel month on month in February, or 35%, mostly from lower demand in China, according to OPEC’s most recent Monthly Oil Market Report.

It is particularly susceptible to even lower oil prices of today and is motivated to bring the two spatting parties together.

Venezuela continues to suffer under the weight of US sanctions and today, the United States added another subsidiary of Rosneft—TNK Trading International SA (TTI)—for supporting Maduro’s regime, according to a Thursday statement from the US Department of Treasury.  

TTI took over the handling of Venezuela’s oil trade after the US sanctioned another Rosneft subsidiary, Rosneft Trading SA (RTSA) for brokering the sanctioned country’s crude. According to the US Department of Treasury TTI purchased 14 million barrels of crude from PdVSA.

The sanctions block all property and interests in property of TTI that are in the US or in the possession or control of US persons, as well as any entities that are owned, directly or indirectly, 50 percent or more by the designated individuals and entity.

The sanctions will include a wind-down period until May 20, for both RTSA and TTI. The US reiterated its intention of lifting the sanctions “for those who take concrete, meaningful, and verifiable actions to support democratic order in Venezuela.”

The Trump administration has in the past referred to Rosneft Trading as the “gravest violator” of the imposed limits on Maduro as much of the Western world wants him ousted.

By Julianne Geiger for

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