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Maduro Demands Oil Sanctions Be Lifted Before Elections Take Place

Venezuela’s President Nicolas Maduro called on Wednesday for the lifting of all sanctions against the country’s oil industry before he discusses the holding of free elections with the opposition.

This weekend, the U.S. Administration eased some of the sanctions, allowing U.S. supermajor Chevron to resume limited natural resource extraction operations in Venezuela and oil and petroleum product exports to the United States. The Biden Administration’s decision to ease some of the sanctions, which the Trump Administration implemented in 2019, came after the resumption of talks over the weekend between the government of Nicolas Maduro and the Venezuelan opposition. Those talks led on Sunday to the signing of a U.S.-brokered accord between the government and the opposition in order to resolve the country’s political turmoil. 

While describing the license to Chevron to pump and export oil from its joint ventures in Venezuela as a step in the “right direction,” Maduro said at a press conference on Wednesday that was “not enough for what Venezuela demands, which is the complete lifting” of the oil sanctions.

“They want free elections?” Maduro said, “Ok, elections free of all sanctions!” the Venezuelan leader added.  

Maduro also demands that U.S.-based refiner Citgo be put back under the control of Venezuela’s state oil firm PDVSA.

The U.S. license to Chevron prevents PDVSA from receiving profits from the oil sales by Chevron. The license authorizes Chevron to produce oil at fields jointly operated with PDVSA and sell the oil to U.S. refiners.

Chevron is getting ready to ship the first oil cargo from Venezuela to the United States by late December, Bloomberg reported earlier this week, citing a source with knowledge of the matter.

The license, however, is not expected to increase Venezuela’s oil production by much or quickly. In October, Bloomberg cited Chevron CEO Mike Wirth as saying that it could take “months and years in order to begin to maintain and refurbish fields and equipment and change any investment activity.” 

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By Tsvetana Paraskova for Oilprice.com

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  • Mamdouh Salameh on December 01 2022 said:
    Venezuelan President Nicolas Maduro is absolutely right to demand a total lifting of US sanctions against his country including the return of US-based Venezuelan refinery Citgo to the control of PDVSA before any elections take place. No lifting of sanctions, No elections.

    He should also tell the Biden administration that it won’t get a single barrel of Venezuelan oil before the sanctions are lifted. The only exception is the 54,000 barrels a day which are Chevron’s share of production from jointly operated fields with PDVSA.

    Dr Mamdouh G Salameh
    International Oil Economist
    Global Energy Expert

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