Senator Manchin slams Venezuelan oil, gas sanction relief, calls for boost in domestic production

Jennifer A. Dlouhy, Bloomberg October 20, 2023

(Bloomberg) - Senator Joe Manchin condemned the Biden administration’s decision to lift sanctions against Venezuela’s oil and gas sector, arguing the U.S. should instead turn to domestic crude production to fill any shortfall.

U.S. Senator Joe Manchin

The administration is looking to “one of the world’s dirtiest energy producers and an oppressor of its own people to help make up the production that they refuse to allow in America,” Manchin said at the start of an unrelated Senate hearing Thursday. The sanctions relief follows the issuance of the government’s smallest plan in decades for offshore oil and gas leasing during the next five years, Manchin stressed.

The six-month sanction suspension announced late Wednesday was cast as a goodwill gesture tied to Venezuelan President Nicolas Maduro’s talks with political opponents. But Manchin, a key moderate Democrat and swing vote in the Senate, expressed skepticism.

While the administration believes this will encourage Venezuela to make democratic reforms, “that has been tried, and we’ve failed before,” he said. “It makes no sense at all to reward bad actors before they actually take the action you want. We tried that with Iran, and now here we are with Venezuela.”

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