(Tass, 16.Oct.2019) — The government of Venezuela is ready to hand over full control over its state-run oil company PDVSA (Petroleos de Venezuela) to Russia’s Rosneft, El Nacional newspaper said citing own sources in the industry.
According to the paper, the initiative was put forward with an aim to secure the writeoff of Venezuela’s debt to Russia in exchange.
El Nacional said the initiative received a largely positive feedback in Moscow. In that regard, several commissions have already been sent to Venezuela to estimate the current situation of PDVSA and the viability of the initiative.
Russian experts reportedly came to a conclusion that the company should undergo a serious layoff to restore its competitive performance, the paper said.
So far, Nacional wrote, a search is under way for legal ways to hand control over PDVSA to Rosneft without privatization. In line with the country’s legislation, the move is to be approved by Venezuela’s unicameral parliament, the National Assembly, which is under control of the opposition.
The United States imposed sanctions on PDVSA in January 2019, against the background of a political crisis in Venezuela. Washington also said the company’s assets in the US, amounting to $7 billion, will be frozen. The restrictions will be lifted only after the Venezuelan opposition assumes control over PDVSA.
Rosneft is one of the major investors in Venezuela, implementing several projects on oil exploration and development with Venezuela’s PDVSA. The companies also manage a joint operational base Perforosven.
On September 10, US Special Envoy for Venezuela Elliott Abrams said that at some point in the future, the US might introduce sanctions against Rosneft for its cooperation with Venezuela, although it was not ready to do so at the moment. Prior to that, Abrams admitted that Rosneft’s activities in Venezuela were not in breach of US sanctions on the country.
In November 2017, Russia and Venezuela signed an intergovernmental protocol on debt restructuring of $3.15 bln for 10 years with minimum payments in the first six years. The state debt includes payments twice a year – in March and September.