Chevron Corp. obtained US approval to resume and expand its oil operations in Venezuela, the US government announced on Saturday.
The Treasury Department said Chevron had obtained an expanded license to import petroleum or petroleum products produced by its joint venture with PDVSA, the Venezuelan state oil company. The approval comes after talks resumed between the Venezuelan government, led by Socialist President Nicolás Maduro, and the opposition Unitary Platform.
“This action reflects longstanding U.S. policy to provide targeted sanctions relief based on concrete actions that alleviate the suffering of the Venezuelan people and support the restoration of democracy,” the Treasury Department said.
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US officials had previously offered to ease sanctions and release some Venezuelan prisoners held in US prisons subject to continued talks and agreements aimed at strengthening democracy in Venezuela.
As energy prices rose and fueled inflation, President Biden released more than 200 million barrels from the country’s emergency oil reserves to provide relief at the pump. His administration has urged foreign governments like Venezuela to also increase oil production amid global shortages caused by sanctions on Russia over the war in Ukraine, OPEC+ announcing production cuts and the slowdown in oil production. American shale.
Venezuela produces at most 800,000 barrels of oil per day. This figure is higher than the average of 525,000 barrels it produced a year ago, but far from its failed target of 1 million per day by the end of 2021 and far from the more than 3 million barrels per day the country produced in the 1990s.
“The announcements from the Unity Platform and the Maduro regime are important steps in the right direction to restore democracy to the country,” the Treasury Department said. “The United States welcomes and supports the reopening of negotiations between the United Platform and the Maduro regime, as part of our long-standing policy to support the peaceful restoration of democracy, free and fair elections, and the respect for the rights and freedoms of Venezuelans”.
A Chevron spokesman told Reuters the company was reviewing the license terms.
Bradford Betz of FOX Business contributed to this report.