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Chevron Doesn’t Plan To Exit Venezuela

Chevron is complying with the U.S. Administration’s requirements, but it is not winding down all activities in Venezuela preparing to leave the country, the U.S. supermajor’s chief executive officer Michael Wirth told CNBC on Friday.

“We intend to comply, obviously, with the requirements of the government, but we’re not actually winding down or leaving the country,” Wirth said in an interview with CNBC today. “We’re winding down certain activities,” he added.

Last month, U.S. President Donald Trump ordered Chevron to start “winding down” activities in Venezuela in the latest increase in pressure against the Nicolas Maduro government in Caracas.

The U.S. government has granted Chevron a series of three-month sanction waivers to continue operating in Venezuela since it started to increase pressure on Maduro’s regime at the beginning of 2019. Chevron’s last extension for its Venezuela operations expired on April 22. On that date, the Trump Administration told Chevron it had to start winding down operations in Venezuela by the beginning of December 2020.

Commenting on the license to operate in Venezuela, Chevron’s Wirth told CNBC: “We don’t actually operate any assets in Venezuela, we are partner in two operations that are operated by another company.”

The 90-day licenses to operate in Venezuela have gradually limited what Chevron can do in Venezuela, the company’s top executive said.

The current license until December doesn’t require Chevron to leave Venezuela—it just restricts activity to a smaller set of allowed operations, Wirth said.

Chevron operates a joint venture with Venezuela’s PDVSA in the country that is home to the world's most abundant oil resources. Petroboscan, the joint venture, produced around 200,000 bpd as of October, with Chevron's share of this at 34,000 bpd. The U.S. supermajor holds a 30-percent stake in the venture. In March, the output of Petroboscan fell by more than 50 percent to 50,000 bpd from as much as 120,000 bpd just three months later.  

By Tsvetana Paraskova for Oilprice.com

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