The U.S. Department of the Treasury said on Tuesday that the country has raised its sanctions on Venezuela’s oil industry, focusing this time on maritime companies and their assets who have been assisting the Latin American country in getting its blacklisted crude oil to market.
The Department of Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin said, “The illegitimate Maduro regime has enlisted the help of maritime companies and their vessels to continue the exploitation of Venezuela’s natural resources for the regime’s profit.”
He added that the US will continue to target anyone to supports Maduro’s regime and contributes “to the suffering of the Venezuelan people.
Reuters reported that the additional sanctions come on the same day as PDVSA documents showed that Venezuela’s oil exports plummeted to a 17-year low. Venezuela exported just a hair over 450,000 bpd of crude oil in May—just 18 cargoes.
The 17-year low is attributed in part to the U.S. sanctions which have turned out to be akin to a game of whack-a-mole, with new shippers willing to ship PDVSA almost as soon as the last batch was sanctioned.
Meanwhile, the United States is having a hard time squashing Venezuela’s oil exports to zero with Iran sending five tankers of fuel to the struggling country.