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Venezuela’s cash-strapped state oil firm PDVSA said that it had initiated bank transfers on Thursday to pay US$539 million in interest on four separate bonds, just hours before grace periods on those payments expire between Friday and Sunday.
In a series of tweets, the oil firm that is still trying to service its debts and invoking every possible 30-day grace period to defer the final deadlines as much as possible said that it started the process of paying the interest on its bonds maturing in 2024, 2026, 2021, and 2035.
“PDVSA calls on all bondholders and investors to trust the logistical, productive and financial capacity of the company, which has honored all its commitments,” the state oil company said.
And then, it also tweeted:
“PDVSA confirms the solvency and soundness of its oil industry, in the midst of a struggle against the illegal imperial sanctions.”
Venezuela’s President Nicolas Maduro has claimed that the U.S. sanctions on Venezuela amount to “financial persecution”.
Despite rating agencies declaring Venezuela in restricted or selective default, and Venezuela being late on some payments, bond investors have so far preferred to abstain from taking actions such as demanding default because they are still holding out hope that Maduro’s regime will eventually pay, and because they prefer to have their payments, albeit a little late, rather than to drag a default case into courts for years.
Meanwhile, since the default started looming ominously over Venezuela two months ago, Maduro has tightened his grip on the oil industry, naming a National Guard major general as the new head of PDVSA and the country’s oil ministry. Venezuela has also arrested the two recent former heads of the oil ministry and the state oil company for alleged corruption in the widening anti-graft crackdown that is widely seen as a political move by Maduro to sideline his political rivals.
Earlier this week, the oil company of the country sitting on the world’s largest oil reserves, was said to have launched tenders to purchase a total 4.2 million barrels of U.S. and Russian crude oil, which includes up to 3 million barrels of U.S. light sweet crude and 1.2 million barrels of Russian Urals.
By Tsvetana Paraskova for Oilprice.com
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Tsvetana is a writer for Oilprice.com with over a decade of experience writing for news outlets such as iNVEZZ and SeeNews.