Chevron CEO predicts gradual relaxation of U.S. sanctions on Venezuela


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The U.S. approval for Chevron Corp to expand Venezuela’s oil production is unlikely to lead the company to add investment in the South American country in the next six months, Chief Executive Michael Wirth said.

U.S. President Joe Biden’s administration last week issued a six-month license allowing Chevron to boost oil output and expand operations in Venezuela. It restricted any cash payments to Venezuela pending further progress on political talks between the government of Socialist President Nicolas Maduro and the country’s opposition party.

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Washington could gradually relax sanctions on Venezuela and provide greater latitude for Chevron to operate in Venezuela over time, Wirth said in comments to the Economic Club of New York on Thursday.

Chevron is the last major U.S. oil company still operating in Venezuela and is owed more than $3 billion from dividends and debts from its joint ventures with state-run oil firm PDVSA.

But he added: “We’re not likely to be coming in with investment in a drilling campaign that grows production in the next six months. There’s a lot of work that has to be done…to allow us to move in that direction.’

After seeing sanctions did not fully stop Venezuelan exports, the Biden administration has decided “to loosen some of the sanctions imposed by the Trump administration. The primary effect is it allows some of that Venezuelan oil to flow back to the U.S., which will help the U.S. refining system,” he said. (Reporting by Gary McWilliams; Editing by David Gregorio)


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