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US to resume oil, gas sanctions in April if Venezuela does not OK all presidential candidates – Platts

Biden administration to let six-month suspension end in April if Maduro does not comply with the October agreement in Barbados. Warning comes days after principal opponent was banned. Oil, gas license at risk unless Maduro changes course.

Kate Wiston and Jeff Mower, S&P Global Platts

EnergiesNet.com 01 30 2026

The US will not be able to renew sanctions relief for Venezuela’s oil and gas sector when the license expires in April unless President Nicolás Maduro changes course and allows all presidential candidates to compete in this year’s election, a National Security Council spokesperson said Jan. 29.

The Venezuelan Supreme Court on Jan. 26 disqualified Maria Corina Machado, the democratic opposition primary winner, from running for president. The decision came just days after the Maduro government detained 33 Venezuelans, including members of the political opposition.

These recent actions are inconsistent with the October agreement in Barbados between Maduro and the political opposition to hold fair presidential elections in 2024, the NSC spokesperson said in an email. The Barbados deal had cleared the path for the US to issue a six-month reprieve from sanctions for the oil, gas and mining sectors.

Venezuelan crude exports climbed following the lifting of sanctions in October. Exports totaled 19 million barrels in November, up from 16.5 million barrels in October, according to data from S&P Global Commodities at Sea.

“Unless Maduro and his representatives in Venezuela are able to get back on track, specifically with regard to allowing all presidential candidates to compete in this year’s election, we will not be in a position to renew General License 44, which provides relief to Venezuela’s oil and gas sector, when it comes up for renewal in April,” the NSC spokesperson said.

The US has made it clear that all who want to run for president should be allowed the opportunity, and are entitled to a level electoral playing field, to freedom of movement, and to assurances for their physical safety, the spokesperson said.

spglobal.com 01 29 2024

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