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Colombia warns US against replacing Russian oil with Venezuelan supply

Colombia has warned against the idea that oil from neighboring Venezuela may help fill in shortcomings left behind by the U.S. ban on Russian oil imports, arguing that it would move businesses from one authoritarian regime to another.

American diplomats traveled to Caracas Last Week While Washington is looking for more oil to replace Russian supplies. The trip has sparked speculation that the White House may ease sanctions that have squeezed oil production from Venezuela, once one of the world’s largest producers.

But Colombian government officials have told the Financial Times that recruiting Nicholas Maduro Maduro from Venezuela to supply more oil would be politically problematic and technically impossible.

“It’s not for me to judge and not to justify,” said Colombian President Ivan Duka. “But nothing will change my mind about Maduro being a war criminal or the equivalent of Latin America. [Slobodan] Milosevic because he abused his own country, “he added, referring to Serbia’s late leader.

Duca added that the US, along with many other Western governments, does not recognize his section as the legitimate president of Venezuela after Washington called the 2018 election a fraud.

“If you’ve just banned oil from what they call the Russian dictator, it’s hard to explain why you’re going to buy oil from the dictator of Venezuela,” said Diego Mesa, Colombia’s energy minister, in a separate interview on the sidelines of the CERAWeek industry conference in Houston.

Duka is due to visit on Thursday with US President Joe Biden at the White House, where Venezuela is scheduled to be at the top of the agenda.

Biden on Tuesday Imports are prohibited Of Russian oil and natural gas to the U.S. to put more pressure on Moscow because of its invasion of Ukraine. His administration was simultaneously looking for other ways to increase oil supplies, including a potential easing of oil sanctions on Iran.

Brent, the international index, jumped to $ 138 a barrel, the highest since 2008, earlier this week. It dropped to $ 111 on Wednesday amid hopes of increasing output from OPEC’s group of producers.

Venezuela once produced up to 2.8 million barrels of oil a day, but now has an output of about 700,000 barrels a day, according to OPEC data.

Analysts say Venezuela’s oil industry has been hit hard by years of underinvestment and sanctions.

“The economy has been destroyed in recent years. PDVSA has been destroyed,” Mesa said, referring to Venezuela’s state-owned oil company. “To think that a Maduro regime can increase its production levels by 50 percent just to replace Russia is just nonsense.”

The White House has confirmed that officials have traveled to Venezuela in recent days to discuss the arrest of U.S. citizens and energy security.

Two Americans have previously been arrested in Venezuela Were released On Tuesday after the US visited Caracas in a sign of a possible diplomatic thaw between the two countries.

U.S. Secretary of State Anthony Blinken said Tuesday that the U.S. has a “set of interests” in Venezuela, including support for democratic elections, but added that it also has a “global interest in maintaining a steady supply of energy.”

Colombia warns US against replacing Russian oil with Venezuelan supply Source link Colombia warns US against replacing Russian oil with Venezuelan supply

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