Venezuela has begun to sell oil for less than $5 per barrel, El Nuevo Herald revealed, citing experts in the industry familiar with the development. Meanwhile, the price of Brent crude oil was set at approximately $25 per barrel as of 27 March.
According to the experts cited by the outlet, Venezuela has been hard hit by US sanctions, the ongoing coronavirus pandemic and economic disagreements between Russia and its OPEC+ partners. Russ Dallen, managing partner of investment bank Caracas Capital Markets, told the newspaper that “nobody wants to touch” Venezuelan oil to avoid being sanctioned themselves by the Trump administration.
The country has been forced to hoard oil without being able to openly sell it on the market, and has cut production to some 450,000 barrels per day. According to reports, although the nation keeps up an extensive oil trade with Cuba, cutting the price of its crude to attract new buyers may be the only option left for Caracas.
In 2018, a number of economic sanctions, including those affecting the national oil industry, were introduced against Venezuela by the Trump administration in an effort to oust incumbent President Nicolas Maduro.
The Trump administration consistently asserts that the current president of Venezuela's National Assembly, Juan Guaido, is Venezuela’s leader, while recently bringing drug trafficking charges against Maduro and offering a sizable reward for his capture.