The latest data published by the International Energy Agency (IEA) shows that purchases of Venezuelan crude by US energy companies saw a five-fold weekly growth as of the middle of February.
According to the Paris-based agency, imports of crude from Venezuela to the USA amounted to 558,000 barrels per day during the week through February 15, compared to 117,000 barrels per day in the previous week.
Washington imposed economic penalties against Venezuela’s state oil giant PdVSA, freezing $7 billion of the company’s assets.
The sanctions also block payments to PdVSA accounts with buyers of Venezuela’s oil directed to deposit all transactions in a separate account, to which the company does not have access anymore?
The US Treasury issued temporary permits for buying Venezuelan crude to foreign companies until the current deals are expired, and the firms find new suppliers with the deadline set by the White House to expire on April 28, 2019.
The latest sanctions also prohibit US sales of naphtha to the Bolivarian Republic. Naphtha is a mixture, produced from natural gas condensates or petroleum distillates, which is used to dilute thick, heavy crude to make it flow.
The US penalties forced Caracas to purchase naphtha, as well as petrol and diesel, from Russian state oil corporation Rosneft, Indian conglomerate Reliance Industries, as well as Dutch commodity traders Vitol and Trafigura.
Washington and Caracas have been involved in a longstanding diplomatic spat for years. In January, Venezuelan President Nicolas Maduro announced a break of diplomatic relations with the US after President Trump recognized Juan Guaido as the country’s un-elected interim president.
RT .com / ABC Flash Point News 2019.