In a statement published Monday, 11 of the 14 members of the Lima Group called for a “peaceful transition through political and diplomatic means without the use of force.”
The group also underscored the need for an urgent delivery of humanitarian aid and insisted international governments “take measures to prevent the Maduro regime … from doing business in oil, gold and other assets.”
The Trump administration has drafted a slate of sanctions but hasn’t decided whether to deploy them, said people familiar with the matter. Earlier this month, White House officials warned U.S. refiners that sanctions were being considered, and advised them to seek alternative sources of heavy crude. Some U.S. refiners worried about sanctions experimented with alternatives last year before ultimately returning to Venezuelan crude.
Both crude price benchmarks added to Tuesday’s 2 percent gains and have now been on the rise for eight straight days – their longest rally since June 2017
The investment bank now expects international benchmark Brent crude to average $62.50 a barrel this year, down from a previous forecast of $70. Meanwhile, U.S. West Texas Intermediate (WTI) is expected to average $55.50 in 2019, down from a prior estimate of $64.50
Iran has urged European countries, which are still committed to the nuclear deal, to oppose the sanctions by creating a financial mechanism that facilitates payments of Iranian oil sales.
Brent crude futures was up 83 cents at $54.05 a barrel by 09:32 GMT, after rising by over a $1 a barrel in early trade to a high of $54.55 a barrel.
U.S. West Texas Intermediate crude futures were at $45.99 a barrel, up 66 cents, or 1.4 percent, from their last close. WTI also rose more than a $1 in early trade, reaching $46.38 a barrel.
Brent crude prices dropped more than $1 on Tuesday, falling for a third straight session, as reports of inventory builds and forecasts of record shale output in the United States, now the world’s biggest producer, stoked worries about oversupply.
Crude oil prices have also been supported by OPEC-led supply curbs announced last week, although gains were capped after the producer group lowered its 2019 demand forecast.
OPEC clinched the deal with allied oil-producing nations including Russia at its headquarters in Vienna, Austria on Friday.
The influential oil cartel meets at its headquarters in Vienna, Austria, with the aim of reaching an accord over production levels for the next six months. The 15-member organization will then hold talks with allied non-OPEC partners on Friday, with markets widely-expecting the energy alliance to announce steep output reductions from January.
The Alaska pipeline that carries crude from the Arctic coast to the marine terminal in Valdez was shut as a precaution
Prices came under renewed selling pressure after data on Wednesday showing that U.S. crude inventories increased again last week, hitting their highest levels in more than a year.
Toronto stock market set for rebound if oil prices recover. Investors see value in Toronto’s commodity-linked stock market and expect it to rebound in 2019
U.S. West Texas Intermediate (WTI) crude futures slumped 2.3 percent, to $53.38 a barrel. Prices earlier fell to as low as $52.82, only 5 cents about the $52.77 level reached on Tuesday, which was the lowest since October 2017.