March 19, 2019 / 8:17 AM / a month ago

Venezuela suspends oil exports to India: Azeri energy ministry

FILE PHOTO: Venezuela's Oil Minister and President of Venezuelan state-run oil company PDVSA Manuel Quevedo listens to a speech during the Petrotech conference in Greater Noida, India, February 11, 2019. REUTERS/Anushree Fadnavis/File Photo

BAKU (Reuters) - Venezuela has suspended its oil exports to India and views Russia and China as its main export destinations, the Azeri energy ministry said on Tuesday, citing Venezuela’s oil minister.

The Azeri ministry issued the statement on Tuesday following talks in Baku between Azerbaijan’s energy minister and Venezuelan oil minister and president of state-run oil company PDVSA, Manuel Quevedo.

“At the meeting... Quevedo said in order to prevent a sharp reduction, various measures are being implemented and diversification of the export market is underway,” the statement said.

“Russia and China are seen as the main destinations because of the suspension of oil exports to India,” the statement said.

The Indian market has been crucial for Venezuela’s economy because it has historically been the second-largest cash-paying customer for the OPEC country’s crude, behind the United States.

Earlier this year, the United States imposed heavy sanctions on Venezuela’s oil industry and has pressed India to stop buying Venezuelan oil.

OPEC and other oil ministers met in Baku in talks over the weekend that ended on Monday.

Reporting by Nailia Bagirova; Writing by Polina Nikolskaya and Tom Balmforth; Editing by Katya Golubkova and Louise Heavens

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