Venezuela: US and Russia Dig In at United Nations with Rival Resolutions

Venezuela moves to replace US executives on Citgo board

Citgo is facing unprecedented challenges to its finances and management after the US imposed sanctions on PDVSA

Image provided by Venezuela's Presidency shows Venezuelan President Nicolas Maduro (C) speaking to a soldier during the opening ceremony of the military exercises to mark the 200th anniversary of the historic Battle of Angostura at the Guicaipuro Fort in Miranda, Venezuela, on February 10, 2019. PDVSA is seeking to retain buyers in other big consuming-countries such as China and India after American refiners halted purchases. Quevedo said he wants to double sales to India, which past year bought more than 340,000 barrels per day (bpd) from Venezuela.

Under Maduro's stewardship, oil-rich Venezuela's economy has collapsed leaving the country wracked by hyperinflation, recession and shortages of basic necessities such as food and medicine. The U.S. wants to get Maduro to cede power to an interim government led by Juan Guaido - a lawmaker who claims he's the country's rightful leader.

The minister said Venezuela's oil output was now 1.57 million bpd, about half its level at the start of the century.

Sanctions have forced Citgo and other USA refiners to seek crude oil supplies from other nations.

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The sanctions gave US oil companies working in Venezuela, including Chevron and oil service firms Halliburton Co HAL.N , General Electric Co's Baker Hughes BHGE.N and Schlumberger NV SLB.N , a deadline to halt all operations in the South American country. Before sanctions, the United States bought more than 500,000 bpd, making it Venezuela's largest buyer. The U.S. sanctions have sliced its oil exports to a 10-month low.

Last year, when asked by Iran for support, OPEC did not issue any formal comments on the US sanctions on Iran either. After the American restrictions were imposed on January 28, only one tanker has loaded over a 10-day period.

The United States and dozens of other countries have recognized Guaido as the nation's legitimate head of state. Guaido has said he plans to name a new board of directors for the state producer and its USA subsidiary. "Now they want to steal Citgo Petroleum from Venezuela", Quevedo said, confirming Venezuela's efforts to remove the two US executives from the board. "The United States is simply trying to eliminate competitors". Only the headline has been changed.

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