Venezuela stops oil shipments to Europe
Venezuela has just stopped oil shipments to Europe, saying it is done with oil-for-debt agreements and looking for Italian and Spanish refined fuels in exchange for crude.
The European Union is going to be struggling to find any fuel sources it can find to supply electricity and heating through the coming winter, according to OilPrice, amid natural gas imports from Russia being cut by 80 percent through Nord Stream 1 along with the majority of oil shipments. Iran and Venezuela were two sources that were originally suggested as alternatives.
Increased Iranian oil and gas exports to the West highly depend on the undecided nuclear deal, but such a deal is unlikely anytime soon as deadlines on proposals have not been met, according to Goldman Sachs.
After two years of US sanctions, Venezuela restarted shipments to Europe under a deal that allows them to trade oil for debt relief. Nonetheless, the country's government has suspended those shipments now, saying it has no interest anymore in oil-for-debt agreements and wants instead refined fuels from Italy and Spain in exchange for crude.
This might appear like a backward exchange, but Venezuela's own refineries are grappling with the ability to remain in operation due to a lack of investment and repairs. Refined fuels would help Venezuela get back on its feet in terms of industry and energy. Some of the country's own heavy oil operations need imported diluents to continue. The EU says it presently has no plans to lift restrictions on the oil-for-debt deal, which means Europe has lost yet another energy source now.
Venezuela's oil industry has been strangled by the sanctions on the country and the declining investments. Consequently, the overall production dropped by 38 percent this July in comparison with last year. Joe Biden's initial moves to restart talks with President Nicolas Maduro triggered hopes that Venezuelan oil would flow once again and relieve tight global markets and rising prices. Europe, in particular, will be desperate soon for energy alternatives, which will probably lead this autumn to the scouring of markets to meet the bare minimum requirements for heating.
If this happens and they did not find regular sources of energy to fill the void left by sanctions against Russia, prices will rise very steeply in the EU, not to mention that available sources of energy supplies will also shrink for every other nation including the US.