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Russia not planning emergency meeting with OPEC over Venezuela crisis

Russia not planning emergency meeting with OPEC over Venezuela crisis
OPEC and allied oil giants led by Russia have not proposed an emergency meeting in response to the political turmoil in Venezuela, according to Russian Energy Minister Aleksandr Novak.

However, events in the Latin American country, which is one of the main crude exporters in the region and an OPEC member, may still impact the oil market, Novak told the TASS news agency on Thursday.

“The market is very complex. And it’s difficult to forecast how it will react,” the Russian minister said.

Also on rt.com United States considers hitting Venezuela with oil embargo

Earlier this week, the confrontation between government and opposition forces in Venezuela escalated after opposition leader Juan Guaido declared himself acting president following calls for a regime change from the US.

The world is split over the crisis, with Russia, Turkey, Iran, and China vowing to support President Nicolas Maduro, who was sworn in for his second term earlier this year.

The US, Canada and some Latin American nations, including Brazil, Colombia and Argentina, backed Guaido. Meanwhile the EU called for new “free elections” but did not explicitly recognize the opposition leader as president.

Meanwhile, Washington is mulling sanctions on Venezuelan crude exports. The potential embargo would reportedly target around 500,000 barrels of oil that Venezuela exports to the US daily. Asked about the potential consequences of the move for the market, Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov said it is still “too early” to discuss that.

Russia has several joint projects with the Latin American country, including in the energy, agricultural and defense sectors, among others. The country’s investment in Venezuela exceeds $4.1 billion, with Russian energy giant Rosneft accounting for most of it. Trade turnover between Moscow and Caracas rose 48 percent in January-February last year, compared to the same period in 2017 and reached nearly $85 million.

Venezuela is one of the major crude exporters in Latin America and its oil revenues account for about 98 percent of export earnings, according to OPEC. However, oil output fell 33,000 barrels daily from November and hit a new low in December, with 1.15 million barrels per day produced in contrast to more than 2 million in 2017.

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