Venezuelan sanctions and the Maduro regime have been a backburner issue so far for US President Joe Biden. When he was elected, many energy analysts predicted he would grant some sanctions relief on humanitarian grounds.
Fernando Ferreira, director of Rapidan Energy Group's Geopolitical Risk Service, predicts we'll start to see the White House's direction on Venezuela later this year. We asked him about the ban on diesel-for-crude swaps, Chevron's waiver extension, the status of opposition leader Juan Guaido and the future of Venezuela's oil production.
S&P Global Platts Analytics expects Venezuela to produce around 500,000 b/d from May to September, although a new Chinese consumption tax could put some of those volumes at risk. It sees
Venezuelan output rising to 800,000 b/d by the end of 2022 if the Biden administration eases some sanctions, such as allowing a restart of crude-for-diesel swaps.
"But absent sanctions relief, the Chinese tax change could make a fall to mid-2020 volumes of 300,000 b/d more likely," said Paul Sheldon, Platts Analytics' chief geopolitical adviser.
The latest Platts OPEC survey and the Energy Information Administration both estimate Venezuela's May output at 540,000 b/d
Stick around after the interview for the Market Minute, a look at near-term oil market drivers.