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Washington eases restrictions on Venezuela to allow oil trade as world prices rocket

WASHINGTON has eased some restrictions on Venezuela allowing for US oil company Chevron to carry out potential activities in the Bolivarian country, it was announced on Tuesday. 

“[The US] Treasury, with guidance from the State Department, issued a limited licence authorising Chevron to negotiate the terms of possible future activities in Venezuela. 

“It does not allow them to enter into any agreements with PDVSA or any other activities involving PDVSA (Petroleos de Venezuela) or the Venezuelan oil sector. So, fundamentally, what they are doing is just allowing them to talk,” a senior official told reporters. 

The oil giant had previously been granted a waiver allowing to trade in Venezuela despite US sanctions, however they were ordered to stop by former US president Donald Trump. 

His administration saw oil as a key financial lifeline for President Nicolas Maduro whom Mr Trump wanted to remove from power and replace with pro-Washington politician Juan Guaido. 

There appeared to be no change in direction from the US following the election of President Joe Biden, but the war in Ukraine has seen world oil prices rocket to more than $100 (£80) a barrel.

Mr Biden and British Prime Minister Boris Johnson have both appealed to Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates to increase oil output to no avail. 

The Opec nations, who together produce around 40 per cent of the world’s total oil output are keen to maintain relations with Russia, which is also a member state. 

The situation has led to a rapprochement between Washington and Caracas over the energy issue, with a US delegation meeting with Mr Maduro in Venezuela in March. 

Venezuelan Vice-President Delcy Rodriguez welcomed announcement of the partial waiver.

“The Bolivarian government of Venezuela has verified and confirmed the news published to the effect that the United States of America has authorised US and European oil companies to negotiate and restart operations in Venezuela,” she said. 

“The world knows that Venezuela has taken its first steps on the road to economic recovery through its own efforts, denouncing and overcoming the illegitimate sanctions and the inhumane blockade. 

“Our people are proud of the work and achievements of recent times. Venezuela hopes that these decisions of the United States of America will initiate the path towards the absolute lifting of the illegal sanctions that affect all our people.

“The Bolivarian government of Venezuela, attached to its profound democratic values, will continue to tirelessly promote fruitful dialogue in national and international format.”

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