Caracas, Venezuelan President Nicolas Maduro has said that US financial sanctions have caused Venezuela’s oil revenue to plunge 99 per cent over the last six years.
Venezuela has the world’s largest oil reserves, but its oil industry is hobbled by US sanctions which have thrown the country into its worst economic crisis in years, Press tv reported.
Maduro said on Tuesday that 30 billion dollars have been lost each year since 2015, adding “it’s impossible to imagine the amount of pressure placed on our economy.”
“For every 100 dollars obtained through oil sales in 2014 we receive one today,” which means oil revenues fell from more than 56 billion dollars in 2013 “to less than 400 million dollars last year”, he said.
According to Maduro, Venezuela experienced the “sharpest” foreign exchange losses in its history between 2014 and 2019. “In six years we lost 99% of our foreign exchange revenues,” he said.
The main reason for the huge drop in revenues was “the war declared on oil prices,” to “attack the world’s major producers,” he said.
With most shipowners and oil traders shunning business with Venezuela for fear of the sanctions, Iran has emerged as the only country helping Caracas bring its refineries back to service and cope with an acute fuel shortage.
The Iran-flagged tanker Forest, the first of a group of three tankers transporting some 270,000 barrels of Iranian fuel for Venezuela, entered the waters of the South American nation on Monday, reports said.
The two following Iranian tankers, the Faxon and the Fortune, are estimated to arrive in early October. They are together expected to deliver about 820,000 barrels of gasoline and other fuels, helping to ease shortages in Venezuela.
The same vessels and two additional Iranian tankers delivered 1.5 million barrels of gasoline and diesel fuel to Venezuela between May and June despite US threats to stop them, while the South American nation shipped a cargo vessel carrying alumina to Iran’s Bandar Abbas port.
An Iranian very large crude carrier (VLCC) is expected to leave Venezuela’s Jose port with 1.9 million barrels of Venezuelan heavy oil for sale in Asia.
On Tuesday, Venezuela’s Foreign Minister Jorge Arreaza was quoted as saying that his country had learnt from Tehran how to confront the coercive US measures.
An Iranian supertanker that shipped the country’s first oil cargo to Venezuela last week despite US threats to stop it is loading the Latin American country’s crude for export, Bloomberg reports.
Arreaza also said after talking with his Iranian counterpart Mohammad Javad Zarif via a video call that Venezuela’s historic relations with Iran are at their best.
Washington has sought to disrupt the deepening bilateral trade between the two countries.
Last month, the US government went on a full-throttle propaganda campaign, claiming that it had seized 1.116 million barrels of Iranian fuel because it was bound for Venezuela.
Iran, however, asserted that neither were the ships Iranian nor their owners or their cargo had any connection to the Islamic Republic.
Venezuela pledged to continue trade with Iran after the US announced new sanctions on Iranian official entities as well as President Maduro this month.