Did PDVSA avoid the recent financial sancions imposed by the US?

PDVSA takes measures to avoid financial sanctions

Reuters reports that Venezuela’s state-run oil company PDVSA is telling customers of its joint ventures to deposit oil sales proceeds in an account recently opened at Russia’s Gazprombank. This move is a way to avoid the financial sanctions imposed by the U.S since 2017.

This bank account was allegedly opened in Moscow, according to a letter signed on February 8 by PDVSA’s vice president of finance Fernando de Quintal.

Not recognizing Maduro, financial sanctions

Once the United States and dozens of other countries no longer recognized Nicolás Maduro as the nation’s legitimate head of state, the Trump administration moved to impose more financial sanctions to block Maduro’s access to the nation’s oil revenue. Additionally, it also recognized Juan Guaido as Venezuela’s interim president.

It seems that in this scenario, PDVSA moved its accounts to Russia over fears of seeing its funds frozen in global banks. PDVSA is working with foreign partners in its key Orinoco Belt producing area: France’s Total and Norwegian Equinor.

Despite the first round of sanctions imposed by the United States, these companies had managed to receive the oil revenues through North American and European banks.

A few weeks ago, PDVSA informed its clients of a new Russian account and asked its partners to deposit the oil sales proceeds in said account. This move comes in the midst of tensions stemming from the fact that some of its partners have withdrawn their staff from Caracas. Furthermore, according to industry sources, PDVSA is calling its foreign partners to confirm the continuation of their projects.

Other consequences of the financial sanctions include:

  • Vessels loaded with oil on Venezuelan coasts waiting for the payments for crude sales.
  • The crude production and improvement project Petrocedeño, a joint venture that includes Total and Equinor, has been halted.

Gazprombank denies new accounts

Hours after the news of a new account in Russia broke, Reuters reported that Gazprombank has denied that PDVSA opened accounts with the bank entity.

“We stress that no new accounts have been opened and the bank does not plan to open any new accounts,” Gazprombank stated.

For more information, check Energía16

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