Washington to decide on Repsol’s activity in Venezuela

Washington to decide on Repsol’s activity in Venezuela

The United States government will make a decision about Spanish oil company Repsol’s activity in Venezuela in coming days, U.S. Venezuela envoy Elliott Abrams said.

The U.S. has played a significant role in trying to reverse the current Venezuelan crisis by supporting interim president Juan Guaidó, sworn in on January 23.

Washington has been putting pressure on organizations like the UN and the OAS, with the help of allied countries in the region and all over the world, to recognize Guaidó.

Recovering Venezuelan assets so far controlled by the government, led by Nicolás Maduro, has been one of the biggest challenges for Guaidó. Those assets include PDVSA and its US-based subsidiary Citgo.

A significant role in oil operations

In late-January, the United States imposed sanctions on Venezuela and state-owned oil company PDVSA and announced additional measures the following week. With these moves, Washington is seeking to force Maduro from power.

These measures basically limit all transactions between PDVSA and any U.S. enterprise. Therefore, the state-owned company cannot export crude to the American nation or receive payments for crude exports. Moreover, it cannot import U.S. diluents or gasoline.

Since the sanctions entered into force, Repsol has been one of its main suppliers of oil products and crude derivatives; as well as Russia’s Rosneft and Indian Reliance Industries.

In this regard, Repsol assures that it fully complies with all laws and sanctions related to Venezuela. The company also assured it closely assesses the situation “vessel by vessel.”

The U.S. could make a decision regarding Repsol’s activity in Venezuela

Elliot Abrams, who is visiting Spain and Portugal, told the press that Repsol presented its case in Washington; according to Abrams, it is “under very active discussion right now in Washington as well as here.”

“I think there will be decisions made in Washington in the coming days about this,” he added, although he declined to discuss the nature of any decision.

Abrams said that new EU sanctions against the Maduro regime were discussed during his visit. “We will impose the sanctions we think are called for,” Abrams said, adding that the EU had already taken some action of its own.

Brussels has said Europe is considering further sanctions if Venezuela did not take steps toward a fair democratic process.

The U.S. Venezuela envoy met on Wednesday with the Secretary General of International Affairs Jose Manuel Albares and Secretary of State for Ibero-America Juan Pablo Laiglesia

Borrell and Pompeo met in Washington

U.S. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo met with Spanish Foreign Affairs Minister Josep Borrell on Monday. During the meeting, the officials discussed Venezuela and the oil sanctions against the Maduro regime, which could affect Spanish companies.

“The United States is putting pressure on one side and we Europeans are doing so on the other side; in a different manner but aiming for the same goal, which is to produce democratic change in Venezuela under international guarantees,” the minister said.

20 years of experience in Venezuela

Repsol Chairman Antonio Brufau said in February that the company has been working in Venezuela for 20 years and hopes to continue for another 20. He stressed that “no country has sunk indefinitely, they always end up getting out of difficult situations”. He added that if the situation worsens, Repsol will be the least of concerns, as “the most important thing will be Venezuelans.”

Repsol began operations in Venezuela in 1993. Back then it developed its Upstream business through different projects spread out across the country. Since then, it has been managing several crude and gas assets there in the development and production phase, which has enabled us to gain vast experience in light and medium crude, and associated and non-associated gas. Some examples of this include our work with offshore gas in the Perla Field, the crude development projects in Petrocarabobo, and the exploration and exploitation of gaseous hydrocarbons in the Quiriquire block.

Venezuela holds 72 percent (2,601 billion cubic feet) of the company’s total natural gas reserves (9,554 billion cubic feet), making it the South American nation with the highest gas reserved for Repsol; followed by the rest of Latin America (25.7 percent) and United States (20.4 percent).

Nonetheless, Repsol’s stakes in Venezuelan gas resources have declined. While in 2015, the Spanish company held 36.6 percent of its reserves in Venezuela, this amount went down by 9 points three years later.

For more information, check Energía16

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