WASHINGTON — The Biden administration lifted some oil sanctions on Venezuela on Saturday in an effort to support recently restarted negotiations between the government of President Nicolás Maduro and his opposition.
The Treasury Department is allowing Chevron will resume “limited” power production in Venezuela after years of sanctions that have slashed oil and gas profits that have flowed into the Maduro government. Earlier this year, the Treasury Department again allowed California-based Chevron and other US companies to perform basic maintenance on wells it operates together with state oil giant PDVSA.
Under the new policy, Proceeds from the sale of power would go to pay off the debt to Chevron, rather than provide profits to PDVSA.
Talks between the Maduro government and the “Unitary Platform” resumed in Mexico City on Saturday after more than a year of hiatus. It remained to be seen whether they would take a different tack from previous rounds of negotiations that have brought no relief to the political stalemate in the country.
A senior US administration official, who briefed reporters on the US action on condition of anonymity, said the easing of sanctions was unrelated to the administration’s efforts to boost production. energy world after Russia’s invasion of Ukraine and that the decision was not expected. to impact world energy prices.
The official said the United States would closely monitor Maduro’s commitment to the talks and reserved the right to re-impose tougher sanctions or continue to ease them depending on how negotiations progress.
“If Maduro again tries to use these negotiations to buy time to further consolidate his criminal dictatorship, the United States and our international partners must reverse the full force of our sanctions that brought his regime to the negotiating table in the first place,” he said. Democratic Senator Bob Menendez of New Jersey, chairman of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, in a statement.
ananta agarwal contributed.