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Venezuela’s political showdown moves to a U.N. Security Council meeting


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You know about the ongoing power struggle between Venezuela’s opposition leader Juan Guaidó and sitting (though widely unrecognized) President Nicolás Maduro...

We also told you about the sanctions the U.S. placed on Venezuela’s state-owned PDVSA oil giant, aimed at cutting off $11 billion in exports from Maduro’s camp this year.

And now...

Venezuela’s oil industry has gone to pieces

Crude production is at a seven-decade low, and exports are at a 10-month low. That’s rough news for a country that ranked among the world’s top five oil exporters as recently as the late 90s.

Talent is leaving. Per the AP, “From the tar sands of northern Canada to the deserts of Kuwait, Venezuelan roughnecks now live in more than 90 oil-producing countries.”

And it’s been happening for a while. At least 30,000 oil workers have fled since the early 2000s, when then-President Hugo Chávez fired tons of them for going on strike and knocking output. But the most recent sanctions on PDVSA paired with political chaos have exacerbated the oil industry’s issues.

Now, there’s “desperation and chaos” at PDVSA

Bloomberg reported employees are working round the clock to find new markets to sell its crude, even contacting ex-employees to ask for trader info.

  • Last year, Venezuela loaded a vessel a day to U.S. refiners. Since sanctions hit Jan. 28, only one (1) vessel has been loaded.

Bottom line: Oil’s been the backbone of Venezuela’s economy, so sanctioning PDVSA represents a calculated move by the U.S. to cut off funds from Maduro’s government. But if the country’s top brass isn’t swayed by the effects of the sanctions, those very sanctions could send the country even further into disaster.

via Morning Brew

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