Securing America's Future Energy

SAFE Responds to PDVSA Sanctions From U.S. Treasury Department

Contact: Alex Adams | 202.461.2374 |

In response to the Department of the Treasury’s decision to sanction Venezuela’s State-Owned Oil Company Petroleos de Venezuela, S.A. (PDVSA), Securing America’s Future Energy (SAFE) President and CEO Robbie Diamond made the following statement.

“Venezuela’s collapsing oil industry, chaotic government and collusive behavior as part of the OPEC cartel has long injected uncertainty and volatility into the oil market. Despite sitting on the world’s largest petroleum reserves, the pain felt from PDVSA’s steep decline in production from its pre-Hugo Chavez highs has been particularly acute for U.S. refiners, whose Gulf coast refineries are configured to use Venezuela’s heavier blends.”

“Sanctioning PDVSA as a means to pressure the government of Nicolas Maduro is the latest example of how geopolitics and oil are inextricably linked. As our ongoing dependence on oil harms our economic and national security, we need to advance solutions that enhance U.S. energy security and ultimately reduce our reliance on petroleum for good,” Diamond added.

In February 1999, PDVSA produced 3.3 million barrels per day (Mbd). Today, the country’s refineries are operating at 20 percent of capacity, and production now hovers just above 1 Mbd. Seven percent of U.S. oil imports—670,000 barrels of oil per day—come from Venezuela, making it America’s fourth-largest importer behind Canada, Saudi Arabia and Mexico.

The U.S. is the world’s largest oil consuming country, requiring 20 percent of global supply to meet its daily demand. Oil price volatility impacts all sectors of the U.S. economy, and when oil price spikes occur businesses and consumers have no alternatives available at scale.

To counter this vulnerability and insulate the U.S. economy from oil price shocks, SAFE advocates for a range of policies designed to reduce the country’s dependence. These include increasing domestic production, modernizing and strengthening fuel economy standards, adoption of advanced transportation fuels including electricity and natural gas, and the expeditious deployment of autonomous vehicles.

About Securing America’s Future Energy

Securing America’s Future Energy (SAFE) is an action-oriented, nonpartisan organization that aims to reduce America’s dependence on oil. Near-total dependence on petroleum in the transportation sector undermines the nation’s economic and national security, and constrains U.S. foreign policy. To combat these threats, SAFE advocates for expanded domestic production of U.S. oil and gas resources, continued improvements in vehicle fuel efficiency, and transportation sector innovations including electric vehicles, natural gas trucks, and autonomous vehicles. In 2006, SAFE joined with General P.X. Kelley (Ret.), 28th Commandant of the U.S. Marine Corps, and Frederick W. Smith, Chairman, President, and CEO of FedEx Corporation, to form the Energy Security Leadership Council (ESLC), a group of business and former military leaders committed to reducing the United States’ dependence on oil. Today, the ESLC is co-chaired by Frederick W. Smith and General James T. Conway (Ret), 34th Commandant of the U.S. Marine Corps.


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