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Authored by Tsvetana Paraskova via OilPrice.com,

The U.S. sanctions against Venezuela are affecting consumers worldwide and are an attack on the oil market, Venezuelan Oil Minister Manuel Quevedo said on Thursday.

The minister, speaking at an OPEC International Seminar today—a day before OPEC ministers meet to discuss how much production to bring back to the market to ‘ease consumer and market anxiety’—Venezuela’s Quevedo said, as carried by Platts:

“These sanctions are very strong, the sanctions are practically immobilizing PDVSA.”

“They are trying to asphyxiate PDVSA,” the minister added.

“It affects not just the Venezuelan oil sector but the consumers worldwide,” Quevedo said, referring to the sanctions.

“It’s an attack on the oil market. Oil is an instrument for development, not an instrument for a political attack.”

The U.S. has been stepping up sanctions against Venezuela, after cutting off all access of PDVSA and its sovereign to U.S. banks, and cutting off all refinancing of new debt.

Amid plummeting production, PDVSA fails to honor its supply obligations, and has started to refine imported crude oil.

Venezuela’s production plunged again in May, by 42,500 bpd from April to below 1.4 million bpd—1.392 million bpd, according to OPEC’s secondary sources. Some analysts think that the plunge to 1 million bpd production is imminent.

Quevedo, however, claims that PDVSA has been complying with its contractual and financial obligations, never missing paying “even one dollar.”

According to internal PDVSA reports seen by Reuters, the company’s oil exports plunged 32 percent in the first half of June compared to May.

Amid the desperate state of its oil industry, Venezuela blames the U.S. for its hardships and is siding with Iran in opposing the Saudi-Russia-led proposal for a production boost, aimed at plugging shortfalls in supply from Iran and Venezuela.

“Venezuela’s situation should not be ignored. Venezuela could be any of your countries,” Reuters quoted Quevedo as telling his fellow OPEC ministers today.