Updates on Venezuela. PetroChina will drop Venezuelan oil firm PDVSA as an equity partner in a joint refinery project in southern China. The company said its decision was due to PDVSA’s poor financial position, not to U.S. sanctions. The plant had been set to process 400,000 barrels of Venezuelan oil per day, but it will now expand capacity and will no longer be restricted to refining only Venezuelan oil. It’s a bad sign for Venezuela, which is already reeling from declining oil revenue.
Meanwhile, a spokesman for Russia’s Foreign Ministry said Moscow was ready to participate in Venezuela’s diplomatic affairs. Doing so would be a low-cost way for Russia, which stands by President Nicolas Maduro, to safeguard its financial and strategic interests there, however marginal they may be. It’s not so unusual for Russia to use a faraway region to stick it to the United States; it has, after all, frustrated U.S. efforts in places such as Syria and North Korea in the past year alone