The Office of Foreign Assets Control (OFAC), a dependency of the Treasury Department, reported that it is renewing for six months the license of four US hydrocarbon firms to carry out operations with the Venezuelan state oil company, PDVSA. However, Washington remarked that the easing responds to preserving its assets in the Latin American country and that it maintains the blockade on crude oil imports from the country governed by Nicolás Maduro.
The US government temporarily authorizes transactions between US oil companies and PDVSA, which have been prohibited since 2018. This was stated by the Office of Control of Foreign Assets (OFAC), belonging to the Department of the Treasury.
It is about the renewal of a license to carry out financial operations with the Venezuelan oil company, but Washington stresses that the measure is only intended to preserve the assets of US companies on Venezuelan soil, since some of them have platforms and other specialized equipment. stored in the Latin American country.
The authorization is aimed at “transactions and activities necessary to guarantee the safety of personnel or the integrity of operations and assets in Venezuela,” as well as “participation in shareholder and board meetings” and the payment of third-party invoices for transactions and authorized activities, requires a document disclosed by OFAC.
The permit, which will run until November 19, was granted to the US companies Halliburton, Schlumberger Limited, Baker Hughes Holdings and Weatherford International.
The resumption of the license allows them to keep their assets, offices and personnel in the South American nation.
Likewise, it authorizes “the payment of local taxes and the purchase of public services in Venezuela”, as well as the “payment of salaries of employees and contractors” on Venezuelan soil.
The US maintains that it will maintain the blockade on oil imports from Venezuela
Despite the relaxations, the Treasury stresses that it will continue the sanctions that prevent imports of hydrocarbons from PDVSA.
In this sense, the four companies that received the new guarantee will not be able to carry out any main activity with the Caracas state company, which includes the prohibition to drill, process and manipulate any hydrocarbon, as well as the purchase, sale, transport or shipment of petroleum products of Venezuelan origin.
They are also not allowed to export diluents, “directly or indirectly” to Venezuela or make payments, “even in kind”, to PDVSA or any entity in which the state company has a 50% or more participation.
For five years, the first power has imposed a battery of sanctions against the company that was once a strong source of income in the nation led by Nicolás Maduro, in an attempt to pressure his removal from power after his re-election was deemed “fraudulent.”
However, following the global energy crisis unleashed by the Russian war in Ukraine, the US has eased parts of the embargo. And after mismanagement and corruption schemes within the company, PDVSA has faced hard times.
With Reuters, AFP and EFE