Several US oil companies have asked US President Joe Biden to authorize them to restart oil drilling operations in Venezuela, as reported by Reuters.
Sources consulted by the news agency indicated that if they are allowed to resume oil activities in Venezuela, it could quickly ramp up production capacity beyond 1 million barrels per day (bpd).
Among the US firms that have make the request to Biden are Schlumberger, Halliburton, Baker Hughes and Weatherford International, which have been prohibited by the US government’s Office of Foreign Assets Control (OFAC) from operating in Venezuela since 2019 as part of the US program to oust the legitimate government of President Nicolás Maduro.
The lifting of sanctions on the oil sector would also allow the oil companies that are still present in Venezuela to quickly reactivate the equipment and increase activity.
In addition to this, according to Reuters, the activation of these companies would allow Venezuela to take Russia’s place in oil exports to the US. Russian oil exports to the US have been ended by the sanctions imposed by the Biden administration against Moscow after the start of the Russian military operation in Ukraine. However, as many experts have explained, US sanctions are not impossible to bypass especially in the case of strategic commodities like oil, and the sanctions on Moscow would only translate into readjustments of Russian oil export markets.
“If PDVSA’s joint ventures are seeking to obtain licenses to operate, they will need the oil services companies,” the president of the Venezuelan Oil Chamber, Reinaldo Quintero, told Reuters.
Another US oil company, Chevron, has also requested approval to retake operational control of its projects with Petróleos de Venezuela (PDVSA), but so far there has been no official announcement from the US side. Many analysts also question what will happen with the operations of European oil companies that too have been affected by the illegal US Sanctions against Venezuela, namely ENI and Repsol, among others.
In the case of Chevron, the US authorities must announce whether they will renew its license, given that the current one expires in June this year.
On March 24, various media circulated a news claiming that the US had given the green light for Chevron to start oil extraction operations in Venezuela; however, within hours it turned out to be false.
Featured image: An oilfield worker beside drilling rigs at an oil well operated by Venezuelan state oil company PDVSA, in the oil-rich Orinoco belt, April 16, 2015. Photo: Reuters/Carlos Garcia Rawlins.
(RedRadioVE) by Ana Perdigón, with Orinoco Tribune content
Translation: Orinoco Tribune
Ana Perdigón#molongui-disabled-linkSeptember 7, 2021