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India Resumes Oil Imports from Venezuela, Ditching US Crude

© AP Photo / Matias DelacroixUnits of El Palito refinery near Puerto Cabello, Venezuela, Monday, Jan. 29, 2024. (AP Photo/Matias Delacroix)
Units of El Palito refinery near Puerto Cabello, Venezuela, Monday, Jan. 29, 2024. (AP Photo/Matias Delacroix) - Sputnik India, 1920, 26.04.2024
Delhi's recent imports from Caracas could potentially counterbalance diminishing volumes stemming from the United States and Persian Gulf countries. US exports to India plummeted by a staggering 8.6 times year-on-year to $238 million for the first two months this year.
The move makes Caracas the 11th largest supplier of oil to India.
From January to February of this year, India imported Venezuelan crude worth $419 million, comprising $179 million in January and $240 million in February. Prior to this year, the last oil shipment from Venezuela occurred in November 2020, when Venezuela was the seventh-largest oil supplier to India.

These recent imports from Venezuela may serve to offset declining volumes resulting from reduced supplies from the United States and Persian Gulf countries. US oil exports to India for the first two months of this year dropped by 8.6 times year-on-year to $238 million.

However, this surge in oil purchases from Venezuela may be under threat after Washington revoked temporary licenses for US and other firms to operate in the country this month following the breakdown of an agreement guaranteeing widespread political participation in the presidential elections slated for July 28.
Following an evaluation of the current situation in Venezuela, “the United States determined [Venezuelan President] Nicolas Maduro and his representatives have not fully met the commitments made under the electoral roadmap agreement, which was signed by Maduro representatives and the opposition in Barbados in October 2023. Therefore, General License 44, which authorizes transactions related to oil or gas sector operations in Venezuela, will expire on April 18," the US State Department announced.

Rejuvenation of Oil Trade Amid Sanctions Relief

“The US has weaponized sanctions against any country which doesn’t toe its line. It has become the sole license holder in the world on who to trade with and who not to. This is utter nonsense," former Indian ambassador to Venezuela, Paraguay, Argentina and Uruguay, R Vishwanathan, told Sputnik India.

US sanctions against Venezuela's oil industry in 2017 exacerbated the pre-existing decline in the country's food imports, which plummeted from $11.2 billion in 2013 to $2.46 billion in 2018. This decline is linked to a collapse in government revenue directly attributable to restrictive sanctions, as reported by the Center for Economic and Policy Research.
However, some suggest that the sanctions will not have the same impact this time round.

The ambassador emphasized that “the US decision to reimpose sanctions on the Maduro government (for not following the Barbados electoral roadmap) will not make much difference to Venezuela’s oil exports as it will continue to supply crude to willing countries."

US Sanctions on Venezuela Driven by Self-Interest in Oil Sales

“We are open [for business], willing to keep progressing along with all foreign companies that want to come,” Venezuela's Petroleum Minister Pedro Tellechea stated after the US announcement.

Vishwanathan highlighted that “the Maduro government and Venezuelans have learned to live with sanctions, just like the Iranians, Cubans and now Russians. Maduro has even survived a coup attempt allegedly backed by the US."

“Unclear to the majority of Americans, however, is that the US Department of State, at the command of multiple US presidents, has been orchestrating a large-scale human rights crisis for decades” the Georgetown Public Policy Review stated.

The Georgetown Public Policy Review asserts that sanctions imposed on Venezuela and elsewhere “are illegal, and violate the Charter of the Organization of American States (OAS). Ironically, the head of the OAS has defended the US sanctions despite the violations of their charter, raising significant concerns about the legitimacy and biases of the organization."

“The US decision to sanction Venezuela is also guided by its desire to prop up its oil sales by blocking other sources,” the ambassador affirmed.
The tanker Sun Arrows loads its cargo of liquefied natural gas from the Sakhalin-2 project in the port of Prigorodnoye, Russia, on Friday, Oct. 29, 2021. - Sputnik India, 1920, 08.02.2024
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