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White House sees 'quite low' oil prices despite Venezuela sanctions: Pence

Washington — Global oil prices are not deterring the White House from considering additional sanctions against Venezuela, US Vice President Mike Pence said Tuesday.

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"We recognize the importance of energy for the United States," he said. "We recognize the importance of petroleum product in this country.

"But the price of oil around the world has been quite low for some time, quite competitive for some time. We're just going to continue to stand firm and bring even more pressure on this regime."

Crude oil futures were trading at four-month highs Tuesday on signs of continued OPEC production cuts and US production headwinds. At 1528 GMT, ICE June Brent was trading 31 cents higher day on day at $69.32/b and NYMEX May WTI was up 68 cents to $62.27/b.

The US imposed sanctions in January that effectively ban US imports of Venezuelan crude and block exports of US diluent to Venezuela.

S&P Global Platts Analytics estimated Venezuelan oil production sank to 750,000 b/d in March from 1.1 million b/d in February, as two widespread power blackouts crippled oil infrastructure and export facilities.

Pence made the comments to reporters after meeting with the families of six Citgo executives being detained in Venezuela. The executives, five of whom are US citizens, were arrested in November during corporate meetings in Caracas.

-- Meghan Gordon, meghan.gordon@spglobal.com

-- Edited by Jennifer Pedrick, newsdesk@spglobal.com