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U.S. Targets Venezuelan Oil Blending With Latest Restrictions

  • No diluents, including crude, to be shipped to Venezuela: OFAC
  • Venezuela needs diluents to blend its heavy crude from Orinoco
An oil pump jack stands in Puerto La Cruz, Anzoategui State, Venezuela, on Wednesday, Feb. 7, 2018. 
Photographer: Wil Riera/Bloomberg
Updated on

The U.S. is stepping up efforts to cripple Venezuela’s oil industry, this time by targeting the petrochemicals the country’s state-owned oil company needs to keep its crude exports flowing.

The U.S. Treasury’s Office of Foreign Assets Control said Thursday in a notice that sanctions on Venezuela’s petroleum industry will no longer exclude the export or re-export of diluents, a class of hydrocarbons blended with heavy, viscous types of crude oil to make them lighter and more marketable.