The United States is considering an October deadline for ending exemptions to Venezuelan sanctions that allow some companies and refiners to still receive the South American producer’s oil, two sources said, as Washington seeks to raise the heat on President Nicolas Maduro.
US President Donald Trump has ramped up sanctions on Venezuela’s state-run PDVSA, its key foreign partners and customers since it first imposed measures against the company in early 2019, seeking to oust the left-leaning Maduro after a 2018 re-election considered a sham by most Western nations.
Officials in Washington say the failure of sanctions to loosen Maduro’s grip on power has frustrated Trump. With November’s presidential election approaching, the US government is preparing to toughen its stance on Venezuela, especially the sanctions on its oil and gold industries, the sources said.
The sanctions have already deprived PDVSA of most of its long-term oil customers, reducing oil exports to below 400,000 barrels per day (bpd), their lowest level in almost 80 years.