Cash-strapped Venezuela is pleading with OPEC for solidarity against U.S. sanctions, a week after Iran also asked its fellow cartel members for support against the returning U.S. sanctions on Tehran.
“I kindly request solidarity and support from our fellow members,” Venezuela’s Oil Minister Manuel Quevedo wrote in a letter to OPEC seen by Bloomberg News.
In the letter, Quevedo is calling upon the cartel to discuss “the constraining effects of unilateral sanctions imposed by the United States of America, which represent an extraordinary aggression, financially and economically, for our national oil industry’s operations and the stability of the market.”
The letter by Venezuela is similar to the one that Iran sent to OPEC last week, in which Tehran sought support from fellow OPEC members against the returning U.S. sanctions and wanted the issue on the agenda at the Vienna meeting later this month.
In his letter, Iranian Oil Minister Bijan Zangeneh also suggested that his country does not agree with “recent remarks by certain OPEC members, noting that the Organization adopted decisions by consensus and no single member spoke for the body.”
This comment could be setting the stage for a difficult OPEC meeting, all the more so that it was Iran’s archrival Saudi Arabia that hinted that the cartel and allies may discuss easing the production cuts in June.
Venezuela, for its part, is said to be nearing the point in which it may have to declare force majeure on its oil exports as production plunges and its ports are unable to ship enough crude. Related: Corn States Win In Fight Against Refiners
Iran and Venezuela are currently the two key oil supply concerns globally that supported the oil price rally in recent weeks, before Saudi Arabia and Russia hinted at discussions that they were considering reversing some of the cuts to offset production losses and “ease market and consumer anxiety.”
If the partners in the production cut deal decide to raise production and if this move depresses oil prices, Iran and Venezuela will be two of the biggest losers from lower oil revenues, because they can’t raise their respective production levels, also because of the U.S. sanctions.
By Tsvetana Paraskova for Oilprice.com
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