The Biden administration is seeking to ease oil sanctions on Venezuela as part of a broader U.S. strategy to temper oil prices that have skyrocketed because of Russia’s war in Ukraine, according to people familiar with the matter.
U.S. officials began rare face-to-face meetings with Venezuelan officials in Caracas over the weekend, with a view to allowing Venezuelan crude oil back on to the open international market, these people said.
The administration also wants to isolate Russia from its most important ally in South America, Venezuela, an essential supplier of crude to the U.S. until economic mismanagement and then sanctions caused the nation’s oil sector to crater.
The proposals being discussed in the Venezuelan capital would ease sanctions for a limited period on U.S. national security grounds. Since the Trump administration began turning the economic screws on Venezuela in 2017, and then leveled sanctions on the oil sector in 2019. Caracas has come to rely on China, Russia and Iran to keep its oil sector afloat. As of 2020, Petróleos de Venezuela SA, the country’s state oil company, was producing about 300,000 barrels a day. [Continue reading…]