The Trump Administration is unlikely to grant U.S. supermajor Chevron another waiver to operate in Venezuela as the United States is increasing pressure on Nicolas Maduro’s regime, Bloomberg reported on Thursday, quoting people familiar with the issue.
Chevron, the last remaining U.S. oil firm with operations in Venezuela, last month obtained a waiver extension by the U.S. Administration to continue operations in the Latin American country for another three months until April 22.
However, the U.S. has stepped up sanctions pressure on Venezuela’s oil industry since January, and Chevron’s waiver probably will not be extended beyond April, Bloomberg’s sources said.
At the beginning of February, the U.S. warned companies doing business with Venezuela, including Rosneft and even Chevron, to “tread cautiously towards their activities in Venezuela,” because more sanctions on Maduro’s regime would be coming.
Two weeks later, the United States slapped sanctions on a Geneva-based trading unit of Russian oil giant Rosneft, saying that the company Rosneft Trading has been helping Maduro’s regime to evade sanctions and to continue selling oil to keep the regime alive.
Now the U.S. Administration is looking to further increase the pressure on Venezuela’s oil industry and exports.
“The President has made a decision to push harder on the Venezuelan oil sector and we’re going to do it. And what we’re telling people involved in this sector is that they should get out of it,” Elliott Abrams, U.S. Special Representative for Venezuela, told Reuters in an interview on Monday.
The Trump Administration is considering whether to extend the waiver to Chevron in light of the increased sanctions pressure on Venezuela, Abrams told Reuters, but declined to comment on specifics.
Earlier this month, Bloomberg reported that officials at the Trump Administration are back discussing a plan to oust Maduro by potentially persuading people in his ruling party to turn against him and agree to a power-sharing agreement with the Venezuelan opposition.
By Tsvetana Paraskova for Oilprice.com
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