Brian Lee Crowley: Biden chose Venezuela over Canada and the USA

Venezuela oil industry concept, industrial illustration. Venezuela flag and oil wells and the red and blue sunset or sunrise sky background - 3D illustration


The United States needs more heavy oil for a whole series of reasons. President Joe Biden could have chosen to have that oil come from a close friend and ally, environmentally-conscious Canada, or from one of the world’s nastiest regimes, Nicolas Maduro’s Venezuela, which doesn’t give a toss about the environment. Which did he choose?

Venezuela, of course.

In exchange for modest concessions on electoral reform, the Biden administration just lifted sanctions on Venezuela, allowing them to export hundreds of thousands of barrels a day of vital heavy oil to the United States.

The shale oil revolution has not and cannot change the fact that the US produces virtually no heavy oil, yet many of this country’s refineries, especially on the Gulf Coast, were set up to refine that kind of oil. Most of their heavy oil is from Canada, which is why that country is far and away the largest exporter of oil to America— more than twice as much as Saudi Arabia, Mexico, Russia, and Colombia combined. If America is now a net exporter of oil, it can thank Canada.

The war in Ukraine caused unpopular price hikes at the gas pump. In response, the Biden administration has drawn down the Strategic Petroleum Reserve (SPR). That drawdown focused on medium and heavy crudes. OPEC responded with supply cuts aimed at throttling the supply of these strategically important crudes.

The drawdown of the SPR is reaching its limits but the risk of higher gas prices in an election year is rising. To OPEC and Ukraine, we must now add the heightened risk of conflict spreading in the Middle East.

In this context, recall that one of the very first acts President Biden took on reaching office was to cancel the permit for the Keystone XL (KXL) pipeline, a permit issued by his predecessor. Keystone XL was intended to provide 830,000 barrels a day of Canadian heavy crude to those Gulf Coast refineries. Pipe was already being laid.

Had President Biden allowed KXL to proceed, the supply of heavy oil to the US industry would have been secure, risky drawdowns of the SPR unnecessary and America would have been much less vulnerable to global supply disruptions and OPEC’s manipulations. 

Instead, the President colluded with a campaign to vilify oil from Alberta’s oilsands as “dirty oil.” Yes, producing Canada’s heavy oil emits greenhouse gases. But then all heavy oil is GHG intensive, and Venezuela is the highest emitting in the world. 

The Canadian oil & gas sector has invested heavily and successfully in emissions reductions. The industry has a $75 billion plan to decarbonize and achieve net zero by 2050, focused on carbon capture and storage and small modular nuclear reactors.

Venezuela has done nada in terms of real improvement in the environmental footprint of its heavy oil production. What it does have is a regime that is world-leading in terms of its human rights abuses and the damage it has inflicted on a once-prosperous economy.

Every dollar America spends on Venezuelan oil will prop up one of the most violent and repressive regimes in the Americas, where Amnesty International says in 2022:

The security forces responded with excessive force and other repressive measures to protests…to demand economic and social rights, including the right to water. Impunity for ongoing extrajudicial executions by the security forces persisted. Intelligence services and other security forces, with the acquiescence of the judicial system, continued to arbitrarily detain, torture, and otherwise ill-treat those perceived to be opponents of the government of Nicolas Maduro.

A recent UN Fact Finding Mission to Venezuela talked about the “unremitting human rights crisis” and patterns of crimes against humanity in that country. Nearly 8 million Venezuelans are estimated to have fled the economic and humanitarian crisis there.

Meanwhile, Canada, while not perfect, has robust human rights protections and high environmental standards. It is also a magnet for immigrants (including tens of thousands of Venezuelans), having one of the highest shares of its population born elsewhere in any country in the world.

In 2021 President Biden was happy to offend one of America’s closest allies by blocking KXL because it was inconsistent “with my administration’s economic and climate imperatives.”  Three short years later, behind the fig leaf of Venezuelan electoral reform, he is welcoming much more environmentally damaging oil from one of Latin America’s most odious regimes, all to try and keep the price down at the pump. That’s a big win for Nicolas Maduro, but a bad deal for America and Canada.

Brian Lee Crowley is the Managing Director of the Center for North American Prosperity and Security (


  1. In the complete “ABSENCE” of accountability and consequences, why would anyone expect elected leaders to apply Logic, Reason, and/or Common Sense? Day in and day out, we continue to discover ‘treasonous’ and ‘criminal’ transgressions from all of the Clinton’s, Obama’s, and now the Bidens. Yet, no one is ever held accountable and there are no consequences.

  2. It is obvious FJB is not our friend and is hell bent on transforming us into a third world country. When it’s all over we need to make sure all bidens are homeless and penny less like the rest of us.

  3. I would like to thank all the environmental entities out that that worked so hard to prevent drilling in Alaska and the US. Its wonderful to know that we have successfully redirected safe and effective oil extraction to a country that doesn’t give a rip about protecting its people or the environment. Yup, we did a great thing! Keep up the good work!

  4. One needs to remember…oil produced in the US causes climate change. I don’t know how this phenomenon works as I’ve yet to find a Democrat who can explain this to me.

    • As they use their cell phones, laptops, take meds, and drive cars made is whole or large part out of plastic.

  5. According to the Baker Hughes rig count, there are 625 drill rigs operating in the US, verses 768 a year ago. There are only 9 drill rigs active in Alaska. It looks like the administration is going to be successful in dropping US production in the near future. At least as refineries try to product diesel and fuel oil from our light crude, there is extra gasoline being refined, so prices at the pump should go down.

    • I’ll take that bet, let’s put a pin in it and check back in 10 months and see if gas is cheaper……..I’ll bet my left one it isn’t.

      The only way gas prices come down is if the democrats need to gain some political points….that is it…in its entirety.

      • I give it 50-50 for exactly the reason you stated. Grandpa Bloodstains is underwater even with his own party.

        Since he won’t increase production, all he can do is giggle the prices “just in time” for the 2024 summer season. To help the people, of course.

  6. biden hired obama’s team as soon as he entered the White House. The democrat party is openly Pro Marxist and Pro Communist. No surprise that Venezuela is given preferential treatment.

  7. We certainly cant expect anything decent out of the whitehouse filled with the most corrupt political family in America’s history.
    It will take decades to recover from the carnage bestowed by Joes pathetic administration.
    Obama summed it all up when He was overheard saying “leave it to Joe Biden He knows how to really f**k s**t up”

    • Andy, Agree on all points except one. We ain’t recovering from this…..America as you knew it is gone. This is the fundamental transformation of America that Obama started in motion. It’s not just us, check the UK, Sweden, Finland, Germany, France…’s like there’s some plan to exterminate the middle class…

      • I wont argue that point Floyd. I have children watching closely and for that reason only I find it hard to face the inevitable truth of your prediction and I have shared this same feeling that Obama was and is the destructive force behind Joes current administration and I do know without a doubt Obama knew exactly what the Jimmy Joe and Hunter money scandal was all about and even responsible for it just for sitting back with a s**t eating grin on his face while it was taking place. He should be hung.

        I encourage everyone here to watch the Tucker Carlson interview of Jerry Sinclair. That testimony from Mr Sinclair has the most revealing inside information as to the true character of the Barrack Obama no one ever knew existed.

        Its tough when your Son says ” What the h**l kind of a f**ked up country are you leaving us? We dont even have a chance of a future even close to the kind of life you lived”. He definitely feels cheated and I dont blame him as there was absolutely no good reason for the degradation to third world status other than pure hate for our country.

  8. Biden only takes orders and reads a teleprompter (barely). The ultimate goal of those giving the orders is the destruction of our nation as it was intended, and shoving us into an elitist globalist Marxist regime. Of course anything Biden appears to do would not be in our best interest as a powerful democratic republic. Make us weak and dependent is part of the plan. The hordes of invaders coming across our border are to beef up the entitlement-dependent voter base.

  9. Lest we succumb to the notion that our Mr. Biden is the hood ornament for everything bad in America, should we not remember that choosing Venezuelan oil over Canadian and American oil was done with congressional, news media, and lobbyist approval?
    That’s worth repeating… 535 members of congress are apparently okay with Mr. Biden choosing Venezuelan oil over Canadian and American oil.
    No? Congressional hearings, resolutions, laws; riots against Venezuelan oil; lobby-purchased talking heads, think tanks ready with all sorts of numbers and dire predictions… all seem conspicuously quiet.
    Wonder why?

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