MOSCOW– Russia’s state-controlled oil giant Rosneft said Saturday it stopped operations in Venezuela and moved its properties in a shake-up of a crucial financial lifeline for embattled Venezuelan President Nicolás Maduro.
Rosneft, Russia’s largest oil manufacturer, had actually taken control of an increasing share of Venezuela’s oil industry and reaped substantial benefit from exporting its crude, propping up the Maduro program at the same time.
The move by Rosneft might be an attempt by Russia to protect the business from more U.S. sanctions while preserving its support for Maduro through subsidiaries and other channels.
In February, the Trump administration revealed sanctions versus the trading and marketing arm of Rosneft, but not the moms and dad business, Rosneft Oil. Two weeks earlier, the Treasury Department blacklisted TNK Trading International, a Swiss-based unit of Rosneft, increase its pressure project on the Russian oil ties to Venezuela.
Rosneft’s chairman, Igor Sechin, is a close ally of Russian President Vladimir Putin and has straight monitored the company’s Venezuela operations. Both Rosneft and Sechin are under minimal U.S. sanctions related to Russia’s impact in Ukraine.
” We safeguard our investors’ interests and make decisions in accordance with our duty to our investors,” Rosneft representative Mikhail Leontyev informed the Interfax news firm Saturday.
The United States indicted Maduro and members of his inner circle on narcoterrorism charges previously this week.
Rosneft said it was selling its business in Venezuela to a business entirely owned by the Russian federal government, “including in the joint ventures of Petromonagas, Petroperija, Boqueron, Petromiranda and Petrovictoria, in addition to oil-field services companies, business and trading operations.”
It included that it would be getting a settlement payment worth a 9.6 percent share of Rosneft’s equity capital that will be held by a subsidiary.
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