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Brazil To Resume Venezuela Electric Imports Amid Guyana Dispute

Shortly after pressuring Guyana to agree to talks with Venezuela over the annexation of oil-rich Essequibo, Brazil said it would resume electricity imports from Venezuela, which were halted four years ago, Reuters reports. 

While the resumption of electricity imports from Venezuela was set in motion late in November, with authorization from the Brazilian government, the official resumption was announced at the same time that Guyana agreed to talks with Venezuela over Essequibo. 

Brazil is attempting to play the role of mediator between Guyana and Venezuela and Venezuelan President Nicolas Maduro makes moves to annex Essequibo and force the withdrawal of foreign oil companies, including Exxon and Chevron, who have made major offshore discoveries here. 

On Sunday, Guyana’s president, Arfaan Ali, said he would meet with Venezuelan officials this Thursday to discuss the dispute. 

“I have made it very clear that on the issue of the border controversy, Guyana’s position is non-negotiable,” Ali said in a national broadcast.

As Guyana prepares for a potential invasion of Essequibo, which represents some two-thirds of its territory, and as Brazil deploys forces to its border for damage control, the hope is that talks could partially appease Maduro. Maduro has been pushing for direct talks for some time, while Guyana has repeatedly insisted that it is a matter to be decided by the United Nations’ International Court of Justice (ICJ). 

“In relation to our border, there is absolutely no compromise. The matter is before the ICJ and there is where it will be settled,” Ali said, as reported by NBC. “We expect that good sense will prevail and the commitment to peace, stability, the threat of disruption will cease.”

In the meantime, Brazil’s resumption of electricity imports from Venezuela amid an easing of U.S. sanctions will likely mean lower energy costs particularly for consumers in the state or Roraima. Venezuelan electricity for export to Brazil is generated by the Guri hydroelectric plant, according to a Reuters report. The authorization is only temporary and will expire in January. 

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Brazil canceled imports of Venezuelan electricity initially in 2019 due to souring relations. 

By Charles Kennedy for Oilprice.com

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