Published: 12:48, April 19, 2024 | Updated: 13:30, April 19, 2024
Venezuela rejects US attempt to 'control' its oil industry
By Xinhua
This photo shows units of El Palito refinery near Puerto Cabello, Venezuela, Jan 29, 2024.  (PHOTO / AP)

CARACAS — Venezuela on Thursday again rejected "the United States government's intention to monitor, protect, control and manipulate the Venezuelan oil industry."

At a press conference, Foreign Affairs Minister Yvan Gil read a statement confirming that "Venezuela will never recognize and accept" the "illegal policy of imposing coercive measures and licenses" against the South American nation by the United States.

The US government released a new "license" on Wednesday, reinstating some of the sanctions against Venezuela that had been eased in October last year.

Venezuela "reminds the entire world that with or without licenses, with or without unilateral coercive measures, it is determined to be a free nation," Gil said.

Announced by US officials on Wednesday, Venezuela's loss of a key US license that allowed it to freely export and increase investment in its oil sector will hit the volume and quality of its crude and fuel sales while prompting a flurry of requests for individual US deal authorizations.

Last October the license eased oil sanctions that had been in place over the previous five years on OPEC-member Venezuela, once Latin America's top oil producer.

On Wednesday, US officials gave companies 45 days to wind down pending transactions under a more restrictive license called 44A.

The period could allow departures by some oil supertankers chartered by PDVSA customers that have waited for months to load in Venezuela, but others might need individual US authorizations to complete their purchases.

Venezuelan officials argue the sanctions had little effect at home, but would damage attempts to normalize bilateral relations and hit US interests in the Venezuelan oil industry.

Washington said on Wednesday it would process specific authorization requests for doing business with Venezuela, a commitment Venezuelan officials said they expect the US to honor.

Authorizations previously granted to oil firms including Chevron, Repsol and Eni were not withdrawn, which secures Venezuela's oil flows to the United States and Europe.

On Thursday, Maha Energy said it had requested a special license from US authorities earlier this year to operate PetroUrdaneta in western Venezuela.

The US Department of the Treasury, however, cautioned that entering into new business arrangements or investments previously authorized "will not be considered wind-down activity," casting doubts on what type of transactions will be allowed.

Veenzuela's prior, six-month license did not provide enough time for the country to secure long-term energy investments, but companies already in the country were negotiating expansions and projects linked to existing joint ventures with PDVSA.

Venezuela expects some of those expansions to be authorized in the 45-day window, including with Chevron and Repsol, and it will resort to individual license requests after that, Oil Minister Pedro Tellechea said on Wednesday.


With Reuters inputs