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Venezuela Looks To Pay Down $20 Billion In U.S. Debt With Oil Exports

The opposition party in Venezuela is working up a proposal that would see 200,000 barrels of crude oil per day exported to a trustee, who would then pay creditors who have laid claim on various Venezuelan assets abroad.

Bondholders and creditors are going after Venezuela’s foreign assets in U.S. court for defaulting on payments—and those defaults, which exceed $20 billion, go beyond the value of Venezuela’s foreign assets. Even the value of Citgo, Venezuela’s most prized possession in the United States. 

Under this proposal, a newly designated trustee would send 200,000 bpd of crude oil to the United States. The crude oil that would be diverted to the U.S. is currently being sold to China.  

Parting with 200,000 bpd of its crude oil that generates much-needed revenues for the troubled country would be painful, but the country is selling that oil to China at about a $20 per barrel discount. If Venezuela ends up selling that oil to the United States instead, it could potentially recoup that discount—although it would be used to pay off debt only, not generating revenue to be used elsewhere. If Venezuela is unable or unwilling to follow through with this plan, it faces a potential breakup of oil refiner Citgo, which the courts could order yet this fall. 

The proposal still requires sign-off from the regime of Nicolas Maduro and Washington. In January, Washington signed off on a license that would allow Chevron to ship 134,000 bpd of Venezuelan crude oil to the United States Gulf Coast.

Venezuela currently exports 715,000 bpd of crude oil and refined products based on the most recent data for June—an increase over this same time last year.

By Julianne Geiger for Oilprice.com

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  • George Doolittle on July 10 2023 said:
    Venezuela as does Great Britain (North Sea) both have horrific expenses as relates to Legacy oil drilling assets that need to be resolved no different in forecasting that cost than building a new Off Shore Drilling Platform the expenses be so large.

    Still at least both still have the energy product to deliver both domestically and for export absolutely true.
  • Mamdouh Salameh on July 08 2023 said:
    A better and fairer deal is for the United States to lift sanctions against Venezuela thus enabling it to export crude to the US. Part of the exports could be allocated to pay Venezuela’s debts and the remainder earns revenue for the government of Venezuela.

    China has been a crucial lifeline for Venezuela in terms of offering it loans and also defying US sanctions and continuing to import Venezuelan crude albeit that part of the exports is earmarked for paying back the loans. Moreover, there is no evidence whatsoever that Venezuela is offering China a discount of $20 per barrel.

    Dr Mamdouh G Salameh
    International Oil Economist
    Global Energy Expert

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