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Venezuela Calls For Renegotiation Of OPEC Deal

Venezuela

High global oil inventories necessitate a renegotiation of the OPEC production cut deal from last November, according to Venezuelan oil minister Eulogio Del Pino.

Del Pino told reporters at an energy conference in Kazakhstan that inventories remained roughly 300 million barrels higher than normal levels.

“Those 300 million barrels are going to impact speculation in the market,” he said. “It (the level of inventories) is still very high.”

Libya and Nigeria, two African countries that received exemptions from the OPEC agreement due to long periods of civil strife, should be put under quotas as well, the minister said. Meetings with ministers from the Middle East and Russia are planned for the near future, he added. Moscow and Riyadh agree that the cuts should continue till June 2018, but the current measures only extend until March.

Low oil revenues from three years of depressed oil markets have made it difficult for Caracas to import goods for its citizens, who are facing mass shortages in food and medical supplies. In the meantime, the United States is toughening its stance against President Nicolas Maduro’s regime.

The White House approved new sanctions against Caracas last week, making it harder for Venezuela’s embattled government to secure funds as Venezuela spirals towards a default. U.S. President Donald Trump signed the executive order, which prevents American financial institutions from offering new funds to Venezuela or to its state oil company, PDVSA. Citgo will also be barred from repatriating profits – further isolating Caracas from international financial markets.

Trump’s White House will block attempts by the Kremlin to acquire large portions of Venezuela’s Citgo. Prior to this announcement, Rosneft had agreed to acquire half of Citgo’s shares in exchange for a $1.5 billion loan in 2016. Cash-hungry PDVSA approved the deal, leaving American lawmakers concerned that a Russian firm would control roughly five percent of U.S. refining capacity via the buyouts.

By Zainab Calcuttawala for Oilprice.com

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