WorldOil Six Citgo executives held in Venezuela released to house arrest Six senior executives of Citgo Petroleum Corp. who have been detained by the Venezuelan government since 2017 were transferred from prison to house arrest, according to a person familiar with the matter. Maduro enlists foreign oil companies to help end U.S. sanctions Venezuelan president Nicolas Maduro is keen to enlist American and European oil companies to help bring an end to U.S. sanctions – and with investment opportunities in the world’s largest oil and gas reserves as leverage, his plan appears to be working. New U.S. sanctions on traders choke Venezuela’s oil exports In mid-January the U.S. blacklisted Maltese trading company Elemento Limited and Geneva-based Swissoil Trading SA for facilitating Maduro’s attempts to circumvent U.S. sanctions. Chevron, Reliance request U.S. unwind some Venezuela oil sanctions High on the agenda for the U.S. and Indian oil companies: reinstating transactions known as oil swaps that would allow companies to receive Venezuelan crude in exchange for supplying diesel fuel. Millions of barrels of sanctioned Venezuelan crude finding their way to China The cat-and-mouse games that avoid detection and sanctions include ship-to-ship transfers, shell companies and silenced satellite signals. But there’s another aspect to the dodge. It involves “doping” the oil with chemical additives and changing its name in the paperwork so it can be sold as a wholly different crude without a trace of its Venezuelan roots. Venezuela’s false-flag tankers cause headaches for law-abiding nations The island nation of Palau says a tanker that recently loaded Venezuelan crude was using a false signal to disguise its identity, potentially putting the Pacific country in the crosshairs of U.S. sanctions. Maduro consolidates power with new Venezuelan National Assembly Since taking over for Hugo Chavez in 2013, Nicolas Maduro has resisted efforts to force him out, presiding over a precipitous deterioration of the oil-rich country. Venezuelan crude exports nosedive as OPEC+ preps output increase Venezuela has managed to defy sweeping U.S. sanctions against state-owned producer PDVSA and keep shipping some crude abroad, mainly to China. But Washington has intensified the crackdown on companies that break the restrictions, and PDVSA has struggled to sell its barrels in Asia. Biden prepares to tackle fossil fuels in the U.S. and abroad Joe Biden's cabinet picks, and his interest in working with China to stage elections in Venezuela, will make 2021 a transformative year for fossil fuels. All carrot, no stick: Biden seeks negotiations with Venezuela’s Maduro and his allies The Biden administration signaled an intent to push for free and fair elections in Venezuela, offering sanctions relief in return. Maduro’s foreign backers, including Russia, China and Iran, are expected to play a role, as will Cuba, which is keen to improve relations with the U.S.