Venezuela's oil is heavier, dirtier, and more difficult to extract than US
or Canadian oil
The Biden administration has flirted with lifting oil sanctions on once- shunned Venezuela to temper surging oil prices, yet it appears unwilling
to encourage investment in domestic energy production. Critics slammed
this move in comments to Fox News Digital.
White House and State Department officials traveled to Caracas earlier
this month to meet with Venezuela’s authoritarian President Nicolás Maduro after Biden banned imports of Russian oil over Russian President Vladimir Putin's invasion of Ukraine.
After some backlash, the State Department claimed that the visit had
merely been about the release of detained Americans and "championing the democratic aspirations of the Venezuelan people."
Despite the State Department’s denial, a source briefed on the meeting in Caracas told The Financial Times that a partial lifting of oil sanctions
had been on the agenda, after all.
BIDEN'S OIL BLAME GAME BACKFIRES
Even if the Biden administration were to go ahead with lifting U.S.
sanctions on Venezuela with the aim of securing an alternative oil supply, experts say the country is nowhere near being in a position to ramp up production in time to help temper the current price spike. The United
States produces more than 12 million barrels of oil per day on average,
while consuming about 19.5 to 20 million. Venezuela's output simply is not enough to make up much of what the U.S. economy needs.
Furthermore, Venezuela’s anemic oil industry is plagued by technical and political problems. So why would the Biden administration even consider
the idea while better alternatives – ones that don’t empower authoritarian dictators – are on the table?
The Biden administration has had and continues to have an icy relationship
with the oil industry, whom the president blames for profiteering off the current energy crisis. On day 1 of his presidency, Biden pulled the plug
on the Keystone XL pipeline, which would have transported an estimated
840,000 barrels a day, displaced more than 600,000 barrels of Russia’s oil
and employed thousands of workers in the U.S. and Canada. Canada's oil is
also better suited for use in gasoline than Venezuela's.
The U.S. has slapped tough sanctions on Venezuela’s state-owned oil
company, PDVSA, and cut ties with the country in response to President
Maduro’s alleged human rights violations. Consequently, many critics of
Biden’s move have questioned why the U.S. would shun its own oil, and
Canada's, in favor or an authoritarian regime that is openly hostile to
the United States.