US in 'no rush' to lift sanctions on Venezuela

  • Spanish Market: Crude oil
  • 08/03/21

President Joe Biden's administration has no immediate plans to relax the sanctions pressure against Venezuela's oil sector, despite doubts about its effectiveness and humanitarian drawbacks.

"There is no rush to lift sanctions," a senior administration official told reporters today. "The US is going to continue to increase the pressure, and it is going to expand that pressure multilaterally" until such time that Venezuelan president Nicolas Maduro's government negotiates in good faith with its opponents and agrees to hold free and fair elections, the US official said.

Biden's administration today made good on his campaign pledge of granting temporary asylum status to more than 300,000 Venezuelans living in the US — a small part of the more than 5mn refugees who left the country over the past decade because of deteriorating economic and social conditions.

Biden has criticized his predecessor's policy of unilateral sanctions against Caracas as ineffective, and his top officials say that the criticism is still valid. But changing that policy has proved difficult because it could require Washington to abandon its recognition of Venezuelan opposition leader Juan Guaido as the country's interim leader — a bridge too far for a US administration that has promised to make the promotion of human rights and democracy a top priority.

The net result is that US officials make a good case for altering the sanctions regime but not until a credible dialogue between Maduro and the Guaido-led opposition succeeds in ensuring new elections in Venezuela.

In Washington, senior Democratic members of the House of Representatives have called on the White House to ensure that sanctions do not interfere with the provision of humanitarian assistance to Venezuela. The oil industry separately is pushing for restoring crude-for-diesel swaps for non-US companies, making the case that it would ensure fuel supply for food and aid distribution and power generation.

"The focus of sanctions should be to increase pressure on the (Maduro) regime, eliminate any sort of access to corrupt capital to sustain themselves but also not one that penalizes unnecessarily the Venezuelan people," the US official said.

"The only outcome of this crisis is a negotiation that leads to a democratic solution," the official said.

Maduro in the past has used negotiations with the opposition as a delaying tactic, so the US will need to be persuaded that future talks are in earnest, according to the official. "Once that happens, we will consult with the international community and the (Guaido) interim government and make decisions about whether sanctions would be lifted."

Venezuela's crude production has recovered to around 500,000 b/d, but that is still less than half pre-US sanctions levels. While the financial and oil sanctions imposed by Washington have accelerated the decline in the Opec producer's output, decades of mismanagement and the departure of trained professionals from state-owned PdV are the root causes of the drop.

The US is looking for new ways to pressure the Maduro government, since Caracas appears to have adapted to the oil sanctions, the US official said. "We have clearly seen is that the regime has adapted to sanctions, oil markets long ago have adapted to oil sanctions, and that they are able to sustain themselves through illicit flows."

The US has vowed to coordinate its Venezuela policy more closely with the EU and countries in the western hemisphere. But the US is almost alone now in continuing to recognize Guaido and the defunct legislature he heads as the country's sole legitimate authority. The EU has called on the opposition to make "difficult compromises" in joining negotiations with Maduro.


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17/05/24

Houston refiners weather hurricane-force winds: Update

Houston refiners weather hurricane-force winds: Update

Adds Calcasieu comment, update on flaring reporting Houston, 17 May (Argus) — Over 2mn b/d of US refining capacity faced destructive winds Thursday evening as a major storm blew through Houston, Texas, but the damage reported so far has been minimal. Wind speeds of up to 78 mph were recorded in northeast Houston and the Houston Ship Channel — home to five refineries with a combined 1.5mn b/d of capacity — faced winds up to 74 mph, according to the National Weather Service . Further South in Galveston Bay, where Valero and Marathon Petroleum refineries total 818,000 b/d of capacity, max wind speeds of 51 mph were recorded. Chevron's 112,000 b/d Pasadena refinery on the Ship Channel just east of downtown Houston sustained minor damage during the storm and continues to supply customers, the company said. ExxonMobil's 564,000 b/d Baytown refinery on the Ship Channel and 369,000 b/d Beaumont, Texas, refinery further east faced no significant impact from the storm and the company continues to supply customers, a spokesperson told Argus . Neither Phillips 66's 265,000 b/d Sweeny refinery southwest of Houston nor its 264,000 b/d Lake Charles refinery 140 miles east in Louisiana were affected by the storm, a spokesperson said. There was no damage at Motiva's 626,000 b/d Port Arthur, Texas, refinery according to the company. Calcasieu's 136,000 b/d refinery in Lake Charles, Louisiana, was unaffected by the storm and operations are normal, the refiner said. Marathon Petroleum declined to comment on operations at its 593,000 b/d Galveston Bay refinery. Valero, LyondellBasell, Pemex, Total and Citgo did not immediately respond to requests for comment on operations at their refineries in the Houston area, Port Arthur and Lake Charles. A roughly eight-mile portion of the Houston Ship Channel from the Sidney Sherman Bridge to Greens Bayou closed from 9pm ET 16 May to 1am ET today when two ships brokeaway from their moorings, and officials looked in a potential fuel oil spill, according to the US Coast Guard. The portion that closed provides access to Valero's 215,000 b/d Houston refinery, LyondellBasell's 264,000 b/d Houston refinery and Chevron's Pasadena refinery. Emissions filings with the Texas Commission on Environmental Quality (TCEQ) are yet to indicate the extent of any flaring and disruption to operations in the Houston area Thursday evening, but will likely be reported later Friday and over the weekend. Gulf coast refiners ran their plants at average utilization rates of 93pc in the week ended 10 May, according to the Energy Information Administration (EIA), up by two percentage points from the prior week as the industry heads into the late-May Memorial Day weekend and beginning of peak summer driving season. The next EIA data release on 22 May will likely reveal any dip in Gulf coast refinery throughputs resulting from the storm. By Nathan Risser Houston area refineries Send comments and request more information at feedback@argusmedia.com Copyright © 2024. Argus Media group . All rights reserved.

Houston area refiners weather hurricane-force winds


17/05/24
17/05/24

Houston area refiners weather hurricane-force winds

Houston, 17 May (Argus) — Over 2mn b/d of US refining capacity faced destructive winds Thursday evening as a major storm blew through Houston, Texas, but the damage reported so far has been minimal. Wind speeds of up to 78 Mph were recorded in northeast Houston and the Houston Ship Channel — home to five refineries with a combined 1.5mn b/d of capacity — faced winds up to 74 Mph, according to the National Weather Service . Further South in Galveston Bay, where Valero and Marathon Petroleum refineries total 818,000 b/d of capacity, max wind speeds of 51 Mph were recorded. Chevron's 112,000 b/d Pasadena refinery on the Ship Channel just east of downtown Houston sustained minor damage during the storm and continues to supply customers, the company said. ExxonMobil's 564,000 b/d Baytown refinery on the Ship Channel and 369,000 b/d Beaumont, Texas, refinery further east faced no significant impact from the storm and the company continues to supply customers, a spokesperson told Argus . Neither Phillips 66's 265,000 b/d Sweeny refinery southwest of Houston nor its 264,000 b/d Lake Charles refinery 140 miles east in Louisiana were affected by the storm, a spokesperson said. There was no damage at Motiva's 626,000 b/d Port Arthur, Texas, refinery according to the company. Marathon Petroleum declined to comment on operations at its 593,000 b/d Galveston Bay refinery. Valero, LyondellBasell, Pemex, Total, Calcasieu and Citgo did not immediately respond to requests for comment on operations at their refineries in the Houston area, Port Arthur and Lake Charles. A roughly eight-mile portion of the Houston Ship Channel from the Sidney Sherman Bridge to Greens Bayou closed from 9pm ET 16 May to 1am ET today when two ships brokeaway from their moorings, and officials looked in a potential fuel oil spill, according to the US Coast Guard. The portion that closed provides access to Valero's 215,000 b/d Houston refinery, LyondellBasell's 264,000 b/d Houston refinery and Chevron's Pasadena refinery. By Nathan Risser Houston area refineries Send comments and request more information at feedback@argusmedia.com Copyright © 2024. Argus Media group . All rights reserved.

Texas barge collision shuts GIWW section: Correction


16/05/24
16/05/24

Texas barge collision shuts GIWW section: Correction

Corrects volume of oil carried by barge in fourth paragraph. Houston, 16 May (Argus) — Authorities closed a six-mile section of the Gulf Intracoastal Waterway (GIWW) near Galveston, Texas, because of an oil spill caused by a barge collision with the Pelican Island causeway bridge. The section between mile markers 351.5 and 357.5 along the waterway closed, according to the US Coast Guard. A barge broke away from the Philip George tugboat and hit the bridge between Pelican Island and Galveston around 11am ET today. Concrete from the bridge fell onto the barge and triggered an oil leak. The barge can hold up to 30,000 bl oil, but it was unknown how full the barge was before the crash, Galveston County county judge Mark Henry said. It was unclear when the waterway would reopen. An environmental cleanup crew was on the scene along with the US Coast Guard and Texas Department of Transportation to assess the damage. Multiple state agencies have debated the replacement of the 64-year-old bridge for several years, Henry said. The rail line alongside the bridge collapsed. Marine traffic does not pass under the bridge. By Meghan Yoyotte Intracoastal Waterway at Galveston Send comments and request more information at feedback@argusmedia.com Copyright © 2024. Argus Media group . All rights reserved.

Dangote seeks 2mn bl/month WTI crude for 12 months


16/05/24
16/05/24

Dangote seeks 2mn bl/month WTI crude for 12 months

London, 16 May (Argus) — Nigeria's 650,000 b/d capacity Dangote refinery has issued a tender for the supply of 2mn bl of US WTI crude each month, for 12 months starting in July, according to a tender document seen by Argus . Dangote will accept offers on a delivered cif basis to Lekki, Nigeria, and on a fob basis from Houston and Corpus Christi, Tx. It was not stated whether the fob offers would be against WTI or Brent. The tender closes on 21 May. Dangote came online at the end of 2023 and its throughout capacity is planned to reach around 350,000 b/d a its first phase of operations. The refinery received its first crude cargo on 6 December and since then deliveries have averaged 179,000 b/d, according to data from Vortexa. Light sweet WTI accounted for 42,000 b/d, or 23pc of the total. By Lina Bulyk and Kuganiga Kuganeswaran Send comments and request more information at feedback@argusmedia.com Copyright © 2024. Argus Media group . All rights reserved.

Eni cuts scope 1, 2 upstream emissions by 40pc in 2023


15/05/24
15/05/24

Eni cuts scope 1, 2 upstream emissions by 40pc in 2023

Edinburgh, 15 May (Argus) — Italy's Eni said today that it has cut its net scope 1 and 2 emissions in the upstream sector by 40pc in 2023, compared with a 2018 baseline. Eni has also cut scope 1 and 2 emissions by 30pc for the whole business during the same period, it said. Scope 1 refers to emissions directly stemming from an organisation's activity, while scope 2 refers to indirect emissions from purchased energy. The firm has a target to be net zero upstream for scope 1 and 2 emissions by 2030, and by 2035 for the whole company. It also has a goal of being net zero across all its businesses, including scope 3 emissions that are generated by use of its products, by 2050. Eni said it agrees with the UN Cop 28 deal struck by almost 200 countries in Dubai last year, and for "the need for the energy transition to take place in a fair, orderly, just and pragmatic manner". But it added that this includes expanding its gas portfolio, as well as investing to reduce emissions from oil and gas output. It said investing in gas is "a bridging vector in the energy transition pathway", citing the acquisition of Neptune Energy and the start of LNG production in Congo (Brazzaville). Eni completed the purchase of assets of gas-focused UK-based independent Neptune Energy in January. The Cop 28 agreement acknowledges the need to transition away from fossil fuels in energy systems "so as to achieve net zero by 2050 in keeping with the science", but it also "recognises that transitional fuels can play a role in facilitating the energy transition while ensuring energy security". Some climate non-governmental organisations and countries particularly vulnerable to the effect of climate change have warned that this could create loopholes benefiting the development of fossil fuel resources, including natural gas. Eni in March said that it has cut its spending plans by around 20pc through to 2027 as it looks to focus on the quality of upstream projects and streamlined development to grow its oil and gas production by an annual 3-4pc. "Natural gas will continue expanding its share of production," Eni chief executive Claudio Descalzi said. The firm is also looking to raise its renewable energy capacity to 4GW this year from 3GW at the end of last year, and then double this to more than 8GW by 2027. By Caroline Varin Send comments and request more information at feedback@argusmedia.com Copyright © 2024. Argus Media group . All rights reserved.

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