Washington Greenlights Chevron to Resume Oil Production in Venezuela, Uses Mexico Talks as Excuse

NOVEMBER 27, 2022 https://orinocotribune.com/

Photo composition showing the Chevron logo (left) and the PDVSA logo (right). Photo: QuePasa.com.
Photo composition showing the Chevron logo (left) and the PDVSA logo (right). Photo: QuePasa.com.

Caracas, November 27, 2022 (OrinocoTribune.com)—This Saturday, November 26, the Biden administration, via the US Office of Asset Management (OFAC), issued General License No. 41 (GL41), allowing Chevron and its strategic partnership with PDVSA (Petro Piar and Petroboscán) to resume the production and marketing of oil in Venezuela. The measure has been presented by the White House as an outcome of the Mexico Talks, although according to many analysts, it is the outcome of the US’ insatiable energy needs and the unfeasibility of the failed Guaidó project.

Recently, the United States has been depleting its own strategic reserves to manage oil prices that were hit hard by US and European sanctions against Russia and their failed attempt to pressure OPEC into increasing production. Many experts believe that the US’ motivation for granting the license comes from its desire to obtain greater access to energy sources, as well as pressure being applied by the powerful energy lobby, in which the world’s second largest oil company, Chevron, plays a significant role.

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In this way, Petro Piar and Petroboscán are authorized by the license mainly to:

• Produce and extract oil, and activities related to maintenance, repair or service.
• Sell, export or import to the United States, through Chevron.
• Purchase and import into Venezuela of products associated with the above, including diluents, condensates, oil, or natural gas.

Since 2017, the White House and the European Union, in their eagerness to overthrow the legitimate government of Nicolás Maduro, have launched a battery of sanctions against Venezuela and PDVSA, the engine of the Venezuelan economy, exacerbating an economic crisis and causing the deaths of tens of thousands of Venezuelans annually, according to studies conducted by Jeffrey Sachs and Mark Weisbrot of the Center for Economic and Policy Research in the United States.

The GL41 was announced on the same day that the Venezuelan opposition of the extreme right and the Venezuelan government resumed with the Mexico Talks and signed an agreement that allows the government of Nicolás Maduro access to the resources owed to Venezuela by order of the 3 billion dollars illegally retained by Washington. This decision is viewed favorably by Chavista analysts in Venezuela since it allows Maduro’s government, through the United Nations, access to resources which it did not have access to previously, which it has been requesting for months.

The decision makes evident the lack of confidence in Guaidó and the sectors linked to him, all which had US support and were given billions of dollars to manage. Guaidó and company have been implicated in countless corruption scandals since the very beginning of the failed coup d’état, all controlled and directed by Washington.

Washington presents this license as part of its efforts to achieve democracy in Venezuela and support the suffering Venezuelan people, but in reality the majority of Venezuelans, who overwhelmingly reject the sanctions regardless of their political beliefs, see it as evidence of the failed US strategy and as a way to progressively abandon the Guaidó project, which many experts point out is no longer in good standing with the White House.

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Venezuela has gradually managed to evade the effects of the US and European blockade, mainly thanks to the support of Iran, Russia, and China. The license, in this sense, attempts to continue the logic of the misguided sanctions promoted by Washington, as in Note 1 of paragraph “a,” it states that any negotiation or arrangement with Iran not held within the guidelines for sanctions against that country is prohibited, including diluents, oil condensates, and natural gas.

In its paragraph “b,” number 4, it states that any transaction involving Russia or entities based in Russia is also exempt from the authorization for Chevron to resume oil operations in Venezuela.

Both decisions seem to be aimed at isolating both countries and their operations with PDVSA, a major shareholder in Petro Piar and Petro Boscán. But many analysts agree that most of them seem to be aimed at promoting the export of US inputs for Chevron’s operations in Venezuela.

The non-inclusion of the US oil service corporations Baker Hughes, Halliburton, Schlumberger and Weatherford International in the expansion of oil operations, contemplated in GL41, is mentioned by many analysts as an important limitation for a relevant increase in oil production in the Caribbean country.

For many experts, the publication of the GL41 and the authorization of access to $3 billion through the United Nations is further evidence of who really leads the Venezuelan opposition: they are the tenants of the White House. This, despite the stilted and propagandistic jargon used in the license and accompanying press releases.

On the other hand, the same jargon used in the GL41 seems to indicate that Chevron will not pay for the oil exported to the United States, and that it will not pay royalties or taxes, something which is very unlikely, since Venezuelan legislation prohibits the latter and mercantile logic makes the first point improbable. Both points were developed by the analyst Franco Vielma through social media, as well as by the anti-Chavista economist Francisco Rodríguez, although the latter presented the information from the perspective of imperial submission, typical of the opposition’s thinking. It emphasizes elements of transparency with the naïve idea that any US initiative is transparent in and of itself, or that the US has a god-given authority to declare transparency.

Orinoco Tribune Special by staff