Setback for Repsol in Venezuela: USA reintroduces oil sanctions


After weeks of warnings, this Wednesday the United States kept its promise and reimposed restrictions on the export of Venezuelan oil and gas in response to what it considers a blatant failure to comply with the electoral commitments of Venezuelan President Nicolás Maduro. One of the companies most affected by this measure is the Spanish Repsol. In fact, the oil company promised them great joy when Biden lifted the sanctions that he is now reintroducing against the country under the chairmanship of socialist leader Nicolás Maduro.

Joe Biden’s government had eased these sanctions in October as a goodwill gesture and to encourage Maduro to adhere to the roadmap for democratic elections agreed between Chavismo and the opposition in the Barbados Agreement.

The exclusion of the candidacy of María Corina Machado, who won the opposition primaries, and the authorities’ obstacle to registering her successor, Corina Yoris, were the final straw for Washington.

Until May 31st to cease operations for companies like Repsol

As announced this Wednesday, the Ministry of Finance will not renew General License 44, which expires at midnight and which has allowed the activity of foreign companies such as Repsol in the Venezuelan oil and gas sector for the last six months.

Companies like Repsol have 45 days until May 31 to properly suspend any activities they had under these regulations.

Instead, the Ministry of Finance issued License 44A, which requires foreign companies wanting to do business with the state-owned oil company Petróleos Venezolanos (PDVSA) to apply for individual permits that are assessed on a case-by-case basis.

The restrictions do not in any way affect the activities in Venezuela of the American company Chevron, which has had a special license since 2022, when the war in Ukraine disrupted the global crude oil market, but other companies such as the Spanish company Repsol have.

Read Also:  Automating Reporting And Analytics Processes

Over the past six months, Caracas has expanded its contracts with foreign companies and oil production in the country rose 18% in the first quarter of the year.

New chapter in the relationship

The end of the relief represents a change in the policy of the Biden administration, which had sought to distance itself from the strategy of his predecessor, Republican Donald Trump (2017-2021), of exerting maximum pressure on Venezuela to try to overthrow Maduro.

The United States considers that Chavismo has fulfilled some electoral obligations, such as updating the electoral roll or supporting election observation missions.

There were also prisoner exchanges in Washington and Caracas last December, during which Alex Saab, Maduro’s alleged frontman, was released.

But the Venezuelan judiciary maintained the disqualification weighing on the opposition María Corina Machado, and the authorities prevented the registration of her alternative, Corina Yoris, even drawing criticism from the governments of Colombia and Brazil, allies of Maduro with whom Washington has close ties maintained contacts.

The Democratic Unity Platform (PUD), the main opposition bloc, has provisionally registered Edmundo González Urrutia for the elections and is in internal debates to name a final candidate.

The US State Department reiterated its demand in a statement on Wednesday that “Maduro allows all candidates and parties to participate in the electoral process and releases all political prisoners without further delay.”

“The end of the license should not be viewed as a final decision that we no longer believe Venezuela can hold competitive elections,” US sources said.

Recent Articles

Related News

Leave A Reply

Please enter your comment!
Please enter your name here