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IEA chief: Too early to assess impact of latest U.S. sanctions on Venezuela

The International Energy Agency (IEA) has yet to assess the impact of the latest U.S. sanctions on Venezuelan oil supplies, its executive director said.

“Far too early to speak about Venezuela and we are following the events very closely,” Fatih Birol told Reuters on the sidelines of an industry event in New Delhi.

The Trump administration on Monday imposed sweeping sanctions on Venezuelan state-owned oil firm PDVSA, aimed at curbing the OPEC member’s crude exports to the United States and pressuring Nicolas Maduro to step down as president.

Traders have already started looking for ways to work around the sanctions, which will hit 500,000 barrels per day (bpd) of heavy crude that the United States imports from Venezuela. India and China are the other top importers of Venezuelan crude.

When asked if the IEA sees oil markets tightening this year, Birol said: “The market is currently very well supplied and there (is) lots of U.S. shale oil coming into the market.”

“There are lots of uncertainties in the oil markets now for different reasons. We are following the uncertainties in Latin America, in the Middle East, and Asia as well,” he said.
Source: Reuters (Reporting by Nidhi Verma and Sudarshan Varadhan; Additional reporting by Florence Tan in SINGAPORE; Editing by Richard Borsuk and Tom Hogue)

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