Caracas, Nov 29 (EFE) – Venezuela on Tuesday said it will be signing a series of new contracts with Chevron Corp., a move that comes three days after the United States government eased economic sanctions on the South American country to allow that company to resume limited energy operations there.
Oil Minister Tareck El Aissami tweeted that he had a “successful work meeting” with the head of Chevron Venezeula, Javier La Rosa, and recalled that the San Ramon, California-based company will mark 100 years of operations in Venezuela in 2023.
“Over the next few hours we’ll sign contracts to promote the development of joint ventures and oil production, as always under the terms established in the constitution and other Venezuelan laws,” the minister said in the tweet, which also showed photographs of the meeting.
“NOW TO PRODUCE!!” he added.
Venezuela’s oil output in October came in at an average of 717,000 barrels per day, still far from the government’s year-end target of 2 million bpd.
Venezuela is home to the world’s largest oil reserves, but production has plunged in recent years due to US sanctions and a lack of investment.
The US said Saturday that the license granted to Chevron allows the company to expand operations at four joint ventures it already runs with Venezuelan state oil company PDVSA in that country.
Under the terms of the license, Chevron is authorized to ship Venezuelan oil to US refiners; PDVSA is barred from receiving profits from Chevron’s oil sales, since proceeds from sales are to go toward paying down the debt the Venezuelan oil company owes Chevron.
The US government said then that Chevron was authorized to resume extraction activity in Venezuela after leftist President Nicolas Maduro and the opposition returned to the negotiating table in Mexico City on Saturday.
During the talks, the two sides agreed that an estimated $3 billion in Venezuelan government funds frozen abroad should be transferred to a United Nations-administered humanitarian fund to meet the basic needs of the poor and make much-needed energy infrastructure investments in a country racked by a long-standing economic crisis.
The US Treasury Department said Saturday that the license granted to Chevron “reflects longstanding US policy to provide targeted sanctions relief based on concrete steps that alleviate the suffering of the Venezuelan people and support the restoration of democracy.”
It added that the US “welcomes and supports the reopening of negotiations between the Unitary Platform and the Maduro regime, as part of our longstanding policy to support the peaceful restoration of democracy, free and fair elections, and respect for the rights and freedoms of Venezuelans.” EFE