The Biden administration is considering lifting sanctions on Venezuela to combat the soaring price of gasoline but remains adamantly opposed to projects that will increase oil production in the United States.
Initially, officials in the U.S. State Department denied the Biden administration had any intention of relaxing sanctions on Venezuelan President Nicolas Maduro’s regime. The meeting between U.S. and Venezuelan officials in Caracas was purportedly about pressuring the regime to release detained American citizens and “championing the democratic aspirations of the Venezuelan people.”
However, as reported by Fox Business, State Department officials discussed a “partial lifting of oil sanctions” with officials from the Maduro regime.
In response to the alleged human rights violations by Maduro, the U.S. instituted thorough sanctions on the Venezuelan oil industry. Specifically, these sanctions targeted the Venezuelan state-owned oil company PDVSA and cut diplomatic and economic ties with the country.
Should the Biden administration move forward with lifting sanctions on Venezuela, with the goal of securing an alternative to Russian oil exports, energy prices in the U.S. would likely still rise due to the time needed to ramp up production.
On average, the U.S. produces 12 million barrels of oil per day while consuming around 20 million. Simply put, Venezuela does not have the ability to make up the nearly 8 million-barrel discrepancy during the period for which it is needed.
Despite the soaring price of gasoline affecting virtually every American, the Biden administration remains adamantly opposed to ramping up domestic production of oil.
Ryan Sitton, an oil and gas engineer and a former Texas energy regulator with experience in Venezuela, said that the Biden administration and the Democratic Party are “beholden to this anti-oil and gas narrative that is so disruptive to the U.S. economy.”
Sitton believes it is naïve for American officials to resume business with Venezuela, believing the Maduro regime will act in bad faith.
He said, “You think Maduro is going to play nicer with us? This is the big problem. It’s easy to say, ‘Oh we’ll just buy Venezuelan crude.’ I’m sure Maduro’s over there saying, ‘Yeah, I’ll show you my crude oil. It’s going to be 150 bucks a barrel’ because he knows we’ve got to have it.”
Phil Flynn, a senior energy analyst at the PRICE Futures Group, slammed the Biden administration’s energy policies as “climate craziness.”
He warned that should the Biden administration give in to House Democrats’ demands and declare a national climate emergency, it could lead to “political instability.”