Venezuela's state-run oil company, PDVSA, is asking customers of its oil joint ventures to deposit sales proceeds in an account it recently opened at Russia's Gazprombank AO, according to sources and an internal document seen by Reuters on February 9th. PDVSA's move follows tough, new US financial sanctions imposed on 28th January and is aimed at blocking leftist President Nicolas Maduro's access to the country's oil revenue.
The United States and dozens of other nations have refused to recognise Maduro, characterising his election last year to another six-year term as fraudulent, according to Reuters.
Since then, PDVSA has been pressing its foreign joint venture partners in the Orinoco Belt oil production region to formally decide whether they will continue in the projects, according to two sources with knowledge of the talks. The joint venture partners include Norway's Equinor ASA, US based Chevron Corporation and France's Total SA.
PDVSA informed customers of the new banking arrangements several weeks ago and has begun moving the accounts of its joint venture partners, who can export crude separately. The decision has caused tension between PDVSA and some of its partners, who have withdrawn staff from Caracas since sanctions were imposed.