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U.S. Extends Chevron Venezuela Sanction Waiver

The United States Treasury Department granted Chevron another three-month sanction waiver to continue operating in Venezuela, Reuters reported Sunday, with the expiry date of this latest extension set for April 22.

The Treasury Department has been granting Chevron three-month extensions of its sanction waiver for a while now, with the one it announced last October reportedly being a topic of heated discussion in the Trump administration in light of Washington’s attempts to stifle all oil revenues going into the coffers of the Maduro government. Some, however, notably Secretary of State Mike Pompeo, argued that the presence of a U.S. company in Venezuela would help to quicken the recovery of its oil industry when—and if—the government changes.

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.

Reuters noted that Chevron reported losses of $104 million related to its business in Venezuela for the first nine months of the year. Yet if the Treasury Department stops granting it sanction waivers, Chevron would have to leave the country, which would cost it $2.7 billion in assets.

“Chevron is a constructive presence in Venezuela, where we have been part of the local communities for nearly a century,” a spokesman for the company told Reuters. “We remain focused on our base business operations and supporting the more than 8,800 people who work with us and their families. Our operations continue in compliance with all applicable laws and regulations.”

Besides Chevron, four oilfield services companies have been granted sanction waivers to continue doing business in Venezuela. However, Schlumberger, Baker Hughes, Halliburton and Weatherford have wound down their operations there to virtually nothing.

By Irina Slav for Oilprice.com

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