The United Nations Security Council, meanwhile, scheduled a meeting in NY on the turmoil, as the US ordered many of its diplomatic personnel out of the country and considered sanctions on its oil exports. This week, things got worse.
Washington has recognised opposition leader Juan Guaido as Venezuela's head of state. Venezuela, owner of the world's biggest oil reserves, could see crude production drop by a third this year, analysts at Fitch Solutions said Friday. Venezuela also imports 150,000 b/d of petroleum product from the United States, including 75,000 barrels of diluent - a light hydrocarbon that is used to dilute bitumen so it can be transported in pipelines. However, this bullish view is eclipsed by the above mentioned possibility of a slowdown in the global economy and fears of a supply glut on the back of increasing USA oil production.
Guaido is considering naming a board to state-run PDVSA's US subsidiary, Citgo Petroleum, in a gambit to generate revenue for the opposition.
Any sanctions would come just as the global market for heavy crude is tightening.
Imports from Russian Federation reached 7.04 million tons, or 1.658 million barrels per day, in December, up 40 percent from 5.03 million tons a year earlier, according to the data from the General Administration of Customs.
Crude had already posted a strong start to the year before the Venezuela flare-up, as the Organization of Petroleum Exporting Countries and its allies cut output.
The country could seek additional deals with Turkey, India or other Asian nations.More news: Nadal overcomes Tiafoe to reach a 30th grand slam semi-final
The U.S. made it known it could impose sanctions on Venezuela's crude exports as Caracas prepares for more political and economic turmoil.
Russian Federation came in as China's largest crude oil supplier in December, cementing the top spot for all of 2018 for a third year in a row ahead of rival Saudi Arabia, customs data showed on Friday.
The United States has overtaken Russian Federation and Saudi Arabia to become the world's biggest crude producer with production levels approaching 12 million barrels per day (bpd).
"It would make a tight market even tighter".
The U.S. government could lessen the blow by phasing in restrictions on Venezuelan oil imports in a way that mirrors the trend U.S. refineries have already always been adjusting to, said John Auers, executive vice president of the refining consultancy Turner, Mason & Company.
Sanctions could also include US exports of petroleum products to Venezuela that are used for blending with Venezuelan heavy crude.
Meanwhile, world leaders and top executives are meeting in Davos, Switzerland, this week to discuss how to steer policy amid worries of slowing economic growth, damaging trade wars and Brexit. Articles appear on euronews.com for a limited time.