12 February 2019, News Wires — Venezuela is open to barter-like payments from India to boost oil sales to the world’s third-biggest oil consumer, the South American country’s oil minister Manuel Quevedu said on Monday.
Venezuela buys a slew of products including medicines from India, and it is looking for alternative payment mechanisms after application of the latest stringent U.S. sanctions.
The administration of U.S. President Donald Trump has imposed sweeping sanctions on Venezuelan state-owned oil firm PDVSA, aimed at severely curbing the OPEC member’s crude exports to the United States to pressure socialist President Nicolas Maduro to step down.
Venezuela’s oil production has dwindled in the last two decades, from more than 3 million barrels per day (bpd) at the beginning of the century to between 1.2 million and 1.4 million bpd by late 2018. Most of the crude oil it produces now is heavy or extra heavy.
Venezuela’s oil output is now at 1.57 million bpd, Quevedu said.
“Inventory levels, demand, supply are the elements taken into account while trying to maintain the balance the global industry needs,” Quevedu said.
Unilateral sanctions by the United States have reduced PDVSA’s oil output and caused a loss of about $20 billion to its oil revenue-dependent economy, he said.
“U.S. exercises kidnapping of resources around the world … It is financial persecution. Now they want to steal Citgo Petroleum from Venezuela,” he said.
Following the U.S. decision to impose sanctions on Venezuela’s oil industry, both sides have engaged in aggressive moves for control of Citgo, which has roots in the United States dating back 100 years, but has been owned by Venezuela’s state-owned Petroleos de Venezuela, or PDVSA, for three decades.
Sanctions have forced Citgo and other U.S. refiners to seek crude oil supplies from other nations.