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Venezuela's PDVSA seeks to barter its oil with India

Reuters  |  NEW DELHI 

By and Sudarshan Varadhan

(Reuters) - is open to barter payment arrangements with as it seeks workarounds to U.S. sanctions imposed in late January, Venezuelan said on Monday.

Caracas, which buys medicines and other products from India, is looking for alternative payment methods to keep flowing to what is now its first destination for crude exports after its U.S. customers froze purchases due to sanctions. Quevedo said he wants to double sales to India, which last year bought more than 340,000 barrels per day (bpd) from

"The relationships with will continue, the trade will continue," Quevedo said, adding that wanted to expand trade in services and technology with

The told reporters during a conference that Venezuela aimed to double supplies to from 300,000 bpd now. Before sanctions, the bought more than 500,000 bpd, making it Venezuela's largest buyer.

"India also wants to increase the intake," Quevedo said after a meeting with Indian refiners in

The on Jan. 28 issued its toughest sanctions yet against PDVSA, barring companies based in Venezuela and U.S. subsidiaries from transferring proceeds of to PDVSA's until a new government being formed by sets up new foreign accounts.

and Nayara Energy, partly owned by Russia's Rosneft, both buy Venezuelan oil. Reliance is one of PDVSA's largest cash payers and a to Venezuela through its U.S. unit RIL, according to internal trade records from the state-run company.

Last year, Reliance and Nayara jointly imported 344,100 bpd of Venezuelan crude, down 13 percent from 2017, according to ship tracking data reviewed by But India last year remained Venezuela's second largest destination for

Barter deals could help India balance its trade with Venezuela. In fiscal 2017/18, India's imports from Venezuela were worth $5.87 billion while its exports were $79.3 million, Indian trade ministry data showed.

The said Venezuela's was now 1.57 million bpd, about half its level at the start of the century. Secondary sources estimate production is about 1.2 million bpd.

Quevedo, whose country holds the rotating presidency of the Organization of the Petroleum Exporting Countries, said it was important to listen to as OPEC and other producers sought to balance supply and demand in the market.

The minister said U.S. sanctions meant Venezuela had lost $20 billion in revenues. He did not give a time frame.

Guaido, who proclaimed himself last month in a move recognised by the and some of its allies, is trying to obtain income accrued by PDVSA's U.S. refining subsidiary, Citgo Petroleum Corp.

In response, is taking steps to remove at least two American executives from Citgo's board of directors, sources familiar with the matter told

"U.S. exercises kidnapping of resources around the world. ... It is financial persecution. Now they want to steal Citgo Petroleum from Venezuela," Quevedo said, confirming Venezuela's efforts to remove the two U.S. executives from the board.

Despite U.S. sanctions, Quevedo said there was no shortage of gasoline in Venezuela and said the country's relations with international companies continued.

"We have strategic association with several companies around the world," he said, adding that one of those was U.S. company .

(Reporting by and Sudarshan in NEW DELHI; additional reporting by Marianna Parraga in Mexico City; Editing by Tom Hogue, and Jonathan Oatis)

(This story has not been edited by Business Standard staff and is auto-generated from a syndicated feed.)

First Published: Mon, February 11 2019. 23:59 IST