Venezuela Oil Czar Courts India After $20 Billion Hit From U.S.

Venezuela Oil Czar Courts India After $20 Billion Hit From U.S.

This comes after reports of the United States being engaged in direct contact with members of Venezuela's military, encouraging them to pledge allegiance to self-proclaimed interim president Juan Guaido, while also working on new sanctions to ramp up pressure on Nicolas Maduro. PDVSA is seeking to retain buyers in other big consuming-countries such as China and India after American refiners halted purchases.

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.

The Venezuelan oil minister, who now holds the rotating presidency of the Organization of the Petroleum Exporting Countries (OPEC), said it was important to listen to all the consuming countries that represent oil demand to maintain the balance of demand and supply in the markets.

Guaido, who proclaimed himself president last month in a move recognized by the United States and some of its allies, is trying to obtain income accrued by PDVSA's US refining subsidiary, Citgo Petroleum Corp.

Venezuela's oil output is now at 1.57 million bpd, Quevedu said.

Sanctions have forced Citgo and other US refiners to seek crude oil supplies from other nations. Before sanctions, the United States bought more than 500,000 bpd, making it Venezuela's largest buyer.

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Reliance Industries Ltd., an Indian refiner that operates the world's biggest processing complex, is taking a parcel of Venezuelan synthetic oil Hamaca that was originally scheduled for delivery to a LyondellBasell Industries NV plant in the USA, according to person with knowledge of situation and shipping reports compiled by Bloomberg.

At the end of January, the U.S. That has turned oil ships into floating storage facilities.

The United States and dozens of other countries have recognized Guaido as the nation's legitimate head of state.

"We would like to make formal your knowledge of new banking instructions to make payments in USA dollars or euros", wrote PDVSA's finance vice president, Fernando De Quintal, in a letter dated February 8 to the PDVSA unit that supervises its joint ventures.

The U.S. wants to "steal Citgo from Venezuela", Quevedo said on Monday.

Citgo Petroleum Corp is a unit of PDVSA and Venezuela's top foreign asset.

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