- Venezuela president says license for US company is not enough
- Opposition must comply with humanitarian deal to advance talks
Andreina Itriago Acosta and Nicolle Yapur, Bloomberg
EnergiesNet.com 11 30 2022
Venezuelan President Nicolas Maduro has urged the U.S. to ease further sanctions on the country’s troubled oil industry, saying a license allowing Chevron Corp. allow to increase production is a first step.
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“All licenses, public and non-public, granted by the US government to Chevron are on track,” Maduro said at a news conference in Caracas on Wednesday, in his first public statements on the matter. “But they are not enough for what Venezuela is demanding.”
The permit announced on Saturday by the Biden administration, which eased some restrictions on California-based Chevron’s operations in Venezuela, is expected to prompt a surge in oil production. Production from the OPEC founding member collapsed to around 679,000 barrels a day in October, down from more than 2 million barrels five years ago.
The license came more than three years after Washington imposed heavy sanctions on the sector, and followed a deal signed by the Maduro government and an opposition coalition to free government money frozen in foreign accounts to fund a humanitarian plan. The deal is part of broader negotiations with the opposition that are expected to continue and will address conditions for free and fair elections.
US officials have said that further easing of sanctions is conditional on Maduro making political concessions and continuing to negotiate with the opposition.
But Maduro linked setting the terms of the election to US policy towards Venezuela. “Do you want free elections? Fair and transparent? Sanction-free elections. You should remove all of them. Take them all away,” he said.
Further discussions are also dependent on the opposition “delivering” on the first deal, which includes the release of $3 billion in frozen funds, he said. The money, which is to flow in December, is intended, among other things, to finance the repair of 2,300 schools, to buy vaccines for children and medicines for cancer patients and to expand the power grid by more than 450 megawatts.
“With this agreement, we have taken a good step with dialogue and understanding to recover frozen funds,” Maduro said. A commission has been set up to determine the location of the blocked funds, he said.
Unpaid dividends received from Venezuela’s US-based refiner, Citgo Petroleum Corp. accumulated could also be used to fund the humanitarian plan. Maduro said the company, currently run by opposition leader Juan Guaido, must be brought back under his government’s control “without creditors,” whom he described as illegitimate.
bloomberg.com 11 30 2022