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Exclusive: Venezuela's Maduro seeks OPEC help against U.S. sanctions - letter

Reuters  |  MOSCOW/LONDON 

By and Alex Lawler

MOSCOW/LONDON (Reuters) - Venezuela's has sought OPEC support against U.S. sanctions imposed on his country's industry, citing their impact on prices and potential risks for other members of the group.

But a source familiar with the matter said the Organization of the Petroleum Exporting Countries, of which is a founding member, had declined to make any formal statement. OPEC says it is concerned with policy, not

More than 40 nations including the United States, European powers and most of have recognised Maduro's rival, Juan Guaido, as the country's of state, following disputed elections last year.

The request was made in a letter sent to OPEC dated Jan. 29 and seen by Reuters, a day after the imposed sanctions on Venezuelan firm

"Our country hopes to receive the solidarity and full support of the member countries of OPEC and its ministerial Conference, in the fight we are currently having against the illegal and arbitrary intrusion of the in the internal affairs of Venezuela," Maduro wrote.

I seek "your firm support and collaboration to jointly denounce and face this shameless dispossession of ... important assets of of OPEC", the letter said.

He wrote that OPEC should help to determine based on "the impact that this action has on the global energy market, and the risk it represents for the other countries ... of this organization".

The sanctions on have boosted global oil prices, which were trading at around $62 a barrel on Monday. The move has disrupted shipments as more than 20 tankers loaded with Venezuelan oil have been anchored off the

Still, analysts say there is ample spare capacity in other such as plus strategic reserves in consuming nations to compensate for a loss of Venezuela's exports.

OPEC tends to avoid political disputes involving individual members. Last year, it declined a request from for a discussion of U.S. sanctions against at a policy-setting meeting.

was once a top-three OPEC oil but production has been in decline for years following the collapse of the country's economy.

and consulting firm sees Venezuelan production plummeting to 680,000 barrels per day (bpd) next year, from 1.34 million bpd at the end of 2018. Venezuela pumped 3 million bpd at the turn of the century.

Together with and Iran, Venezuela is exempt from the latest OPEC-led supply cut due to the involuntary decline in production.

(Editing by and Louise Heavens)

(Only the headline and picture of this report may have been reworked by the Business Standard staff; the rest of the content is auto-generated from a syndicated feed.)

First Published: Mon, February 11 2019. 19:57 IST