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WASHINGTON -- Crude oil hit a two-year high on speculation that Venezuela, the fourth-biggest supplier to the United States, will not be able to fulfill its pledge to boost exports because of a month-long national strike. Oil prices have jumped 21 percent since the walkout on Dec. 2
"Every day that passes we miss another 2.5 million to 3 million barrels of oil," Andrew Lebow, an energy broker with Man Financial Inc. in New York, said in a Bloomberg News report. "The strike continues and there's no resolution in sight."
While OPEC has sought to stabilize barrel prices between $22 and $28, crude oil surged to more than $32, its price abetted by cold weather in the Northeast U.S. Before the strike, Venezuela pumped 3 million barrels a day of crude oil and exported 2.4 million barrels. Venezuela was loading between 12 and 14 tankers a day before the strike.
The president at Petroleos de Venezuela SA, the state-run oil utility and parent company of Citgo Corp.'s wholly owned subsidiary, remained optimistic that Venezuela's output would resume to normal in the near future.
"I would say, in the month of January, we will have completely normalized the flow," Ali Rodrigues told The New York Times. "I'm talking about the exports of crude. It will take time to restart the wells and to equip the plants."