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Venezuela urges foreign partners to declare oil venture commitments

Venezuela urges foreign partners to declare oil venture commitments

Mubasher: Foreign partners of Petroleos de Venezuela (PdVSA) are facing pressure from the state-owned oil company to publicly declare whether they would continue as minority stakeholders in Orinoco Belt projects.

PdVSA’s Orinoco Belt joint venture (JV) partners, mainly US and European companies, are facing hurdles in getting cashflow out of Venezuela as a result of the sanctions, hampering their ability to continue production and exports.

The sanctions against the Venezuelan oil giant, imposed last month in a bid to exert pressure on the Latin American nation’s President Nicholas Maduro to turn over power to opposition leader Juan Guaido, blocked access to US financial networks and oil supplies for the PdVSA joint JVs, weighing on crude output and exports.

The state-run firm has been in talks with foreign companies to convince them to commit publicly to the joint projects, Thomson Reuters reported on Tuesday, citing three sources familiar with the matter.

It is worth noting that France’s Total, Norway’s Equinor, Russia’s Rosneft and US-based Chevron hold minority stakes in joint ventures with PdVSA.

Total stated it could stay in the South American country, despite last week the energy giant said that its bank accounts were blocked and that it evacuated its foreign employees.

Rosneft continued its operations normally at its Petromonagas JV with PdVSA, the sources told Reuters.

Chevron would resume its operations in Venezuela, a spokesman at the US oil major said, asserting that the company was committed “to the country’s energy development in compliance with all applicable laws and regulations.”

Venezuela could be a destination for major investors after embattled Maduro cedes power.

Egyptian business tycoon Naguib Sawaris, who invested across emerging markets and developed nations, said he may consider investing in Venezuela “anytime” as soon as Maduro steps down.