Just more than a year ago, it was not a question of ‘if’, but ‘when.’ As Venezuela’s leftist leader Nicolas Maduro consolidated power in an election derided as a fraud by the international community, the Trump administration readied exacting sanctions on the South American nation’s oil sector. “All options are on the table,” said a senior administration official during a July 2017 briefing with reporters, adding that sanctions could be imposed in a matter of days. “All options are being discussed and debated.” Analysts widely expected sanctions on diluent the US was exporting to Venezuelan refineries first, followed by a prohibition, perhaps phased in over a matter of months, on imports of Venezuelan crude into the US. It was unclear if US refiners, who had long imported Venezuelan crude, would be allowed to continue under an interim “grandfathered” arrangement, but analysts mostly agreed that sanctions were coming. At the time, the US was importing about 800,000 b/d of Venezuelan crude and the administration was mostly concerned about the impact an import embargo would have on US Gulf Coast refineries, which would need to look for new sources of heavy crude. Oil sector sanctions from the US seemed so likely that… continue reading
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Source: CTRM Center