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India To Continue Buying Venezuelan Oil Despite U.S. Warning

India will look into commercial considerations and related factors to determine the value of oil imports from any country, an Indian official said on Thursday, after a top U.S. official warned countries against buying oil from Venezuela.

Earlier this week, U.S. National Security Advisor John Bolton warned countries and companies against buying crude oil from Venezuela, after the Latin American country’s Oil Minister Manuel Quevedo said during a surprise visit to India that Venezuela wants to sell more oil to the fast-growing Indian market.

In a tweet with a Bloomberg article on Venezuelan-Indian oil relations attached, Bolton wrote: “Nations and firms that support Maduro’s theft of Venezuelan resources will not be forgotten. The United States will continue to use all of its powers to preserve the Venezuelan people’s assets and we encourage all nations to work together to do the same.”

Raveesh Kumar, the spokesman of India’s Ministry of External Affairs, said at a press briefing on Thursday, as carried by Sputnik:

“Venezuela is the chair of OPEC and GECF. We don't have any barter system with Venezuela; commercial considerations and related factors will determine the value of trade which we have with any country.”

At the start of the Venezuelan political crisis last month, Indian media reported that the Asian country continues to be one of the main buyers of Venezuelan crude oil. Indian refiners are still buying more than 400,000 bpd of oil from the troubled Latin American country, which is sitting on the world’s largest crude oil resources.

Related: Which Oil Giant Generates The Most Cash?

While the U.S. and many European nations have recognized opposition leader Juan Guaidó as the interim president of Venezuela, India has only limited itself to issuing a statement that “We are of the view that it is for the people of Venezuela to find political solution to resolve their differences through constructive dialogue and discussion without resorting to violence.”  

“We believe democracy, peace and security in Venezuela are of paramount importance for the progress and prosperity of the people of Venezuela. India and Venezuela enjoy close and cordial relations,” is the official position of India, which the spokesman of India’s Ministry of External Affairs, Kumar, repeated at the briefing today.

By Tsvetana Paraskova for Oilprice.com

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  • Mamdouh Salameh on February 15 2019 said:
    By continuing to buy Venezuelan crude oil, India is rejecting US National Security Adviser John Bolton’s warning to countries of the world not to buy Venezuelan oil and also US interference in the affairs of an independent county.

    India which has defied US sanctions on Iran and continued to buy Iranian crude in increasing volumes will again defy US sanctions on Venezuela and continue to buy Venezuelan crude. India will neither kowtow to anybody nor will it recognize national sanctions, only UN Sanctions.

    India continues to be one of the main buyers of Venezuelan crude to the tune of 400,000 barrels a day (b/d).

    The US sanctions on Venezuela and the threats by John Bolton against countries buying Venezuelan crude oil are starting to look like a US-supported coup aiming at regime change with designs on the world’s largest proven oil reserves estimated at 303 billion barrels and growing.

    The United States didn’t even bother to camouflage its involvement in this coup. John Bolton openly said on national TV that “the sanctions will make a big difference to the United States economically if we could have American oil companies really invest in and produce the oil capabilities in Venezuela. It would be good for the people of Venezuela. It would be good for the people of the United States. We both have a lot at stake here making this come out the right way. A decimated oil industry in the nation with the largest proven oil reserves in the world would appear to serve some alternative interests beyond democracy and human rights.”

    In a tweet, he also urged Venezuelan military officers to back interim President Juan Guaidó or suffer the consequences. He even offered relief from punishing sanctions to Venezuelan military officers who betray Nicolás Maduro.

    US sanctions don’t harm Venezuela’s leaders, they only deepen their misery. New free elections where the voice of the Venezuelan people is heard loud and clear without US interference is the way forward for Venezuela.

    Dr Mamdouh G Salameh
    International Oil Economist
    Visiting Professor of Energy Economics at ESCP Europe Business School, London

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