The red flags of an imminent U.S. embargo on Venezuelan crude are already apparent, according to an oil analyst, with ramifications of such a move likely to exacerbate an unprecedented economic meltdown.
"The imposition of U.S. oil sanctions is now edging closer to reality. Such a move would act as the death knell for Venezuela's oil industry," Stephen Brennock, oil analyst at PVM Oil Associates, said in a research note Wednesday.
President Donald Trump is reportedly considering sanctioning Venezuela's crude industry in a bid to ratchet up pressure on Venezuelan President Nicolas Maduro, Reuters reported Thursday, citing an unnamed U.S. official.
This follows a stark warning from U.S. Secretary of State Rex Tillerson, who said at the start of February that sanctioning Venezuela's oil or prohibiting the crude to be sold in the U.S. was something the White House was continuing to mull over.
A move to directly target Venezuela's oil industry would be a huge blow to Maduro's socialist administration, which is depending almost entirely on crude sales to try and decelerate a deepening economic crisis.