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U.S. Treasury Specifies Sanctions On Venezuelan Oil Imports

Non-U.S. companies buying crude oil from Venezuela’s embattled state oil company PDVSA have until April 28 to wind down their purchases, the U.S. Treasury Department said in a note quoted by Reuters.

U.S. individuals working for non-U.S. companies outside the United States and Venezuela have until March 29 to carry out “certain maintenance or wind-down transactions,” the note also said.

Venezuela is one of the four biggest suppliers of crude oil to the United States, which is one of the country’s biggest buyers, taking in some 41 percent of all crude oil exports.

Washington has doubled down on its efforts to oust President Nicoals Maduro, who was sworn in for a second mandate in early January. Soon after, the President of the national Assembly, opposition leader Juan Guaido, declared himself interim president and called for new elections.

Guaido was recognized as Venezuela’s legitimate president by the U.S., Canada, the European Union and a host of South American countries, all of them insisting on new elections. Guaido, in the meantime, said he will soon announce new boards of directors for PDVSA and Citgo.

In his statement, Guaido said his government was aiming to "guarantee the biggest transparency and control" for PDVSA, adding that it was preparing to "start the process to name the boards of directors of PDVSA and Citgo to allow the recovery of our industry that is going now through a dark moment."

The Trump administration also slapped new sanctions on PDVSA, saying the company could avoid the sanctions if it recognized Guaido as the legitimate leader of the country. U.S. Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin said, as quoted by the BBC, the sanctions will involve withholding PDVSA’s proceeds from crude oil sales to the United States

Across the Atlantic, UK’s Foreign Minister has called on the EU to institute its own sanctions against the Maduro government.

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By Irina Slav for Oilprice.com

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