Venezuela has suspended oil exports to India and is instead shifting exports to Russia and China, the Azeri energy ministry explained by citing what Venezuela’s oil minister had said.
The Azeri energy ministry released a statement following talks on Tuesday between Azerbaijan’s energy minister and Venezuelan oil minister, Manuel Quevedo. According to the Azeri ministry, “At the meeting… Quevedo said in order to prevent a sharp reduction, various measures are being implemented and diversification of the export market is underway,” continuing, “Russia and China are seen as the main destinations because of the suspension of oil exports to India.”
The announcement comes after talks between India and Venezuela over moving away from US payment channels and trading in rupees. The consideration of using rupees as an alternative to petrodollars for oil trading was short-lived. Not only short lived, but a strong reversal happened and Venezuela rapidly decided to no longer export oil to India at all. The turn of events seems to reflect the possible fragility of the Indian market in the face of increasing US pressure.
The Indian market has been crucial for Venezuela’s economy because it has historically been the third-largest importer of the country’s crude, behind the United States and China.
The US has been expanding its economic war against the Venezuelan government. Part of that expanding war has been increasing sanctions and putting pressure on foreign governments to isolate Venezuela. The move to focus exports to Russia and China might be a measure to ensure a more secure flow of exports.