June 21, 2018 / 12:02 PM / a month ago

Venezuela says U.S. sanctions hurt oil market stability

VIENNA, June 21 (Reuters) - U.S. sanctions on Venezuela are an attack against the stability of the global oil market, Venezuelan Oil Minister Manuel Quevedo said on Thursday.

Venezuela, a member of the Organization of the Petroleum Exporting Countries, and state-run oil firm PDVSA face an export crisis due to declining crude output, a lack of cash for spare parts and equipment, and a loss of employees fleeing due to hyperinflation and severe recession.

U.S. President Donald Trump's administration has been increasing sanctions on various Venezuelan nationals and companies, part of a campaign to pressure socialist President Nicolas Maduro to make political and market reforms.

The sanctions "are a direct attack against the stability of the oil market", Quevedo said in a speech at an OPEC seminar in Vienna, describing what he called an "unconventional war with the world's largest oil consumer", the United States.

"Venezuela's situation should not be ignored. Venezuela could be any of your countries," Quevedo told his fellow OPEC ministers.

The country is pumping about 1.5 million barrels per day (bpd) of oil, Quevedo said earlier. Venezuela pumped about 2.373 million bpd as recently as 2016, Thomson Reuters data shows. (Reporting by Ernest Scheyder; Editing by Dale Hudson)

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