FILE PHOTO: Cutouts depicting images of oil operations are seen outside a building of Venezuela’s state oil company PDVSA in Caracas, Venezuela January 28, 2019. REUTERS/Carlos Garcia Rawlins/File Photo
CARACAS (Reuters) – Venezuela’s state-run oil company PDVSA is telling customers of its oil joint ventures to deposit sales proceeds at an account it recently opened at Russia’s Gazprombank AO, according to sources and an internal document seen by Reuters on Saturday.
PDVSA’s move follows tough new U.S. financial sanctions imposed on Jan. 28 and aimed at blocking leftist President Nicolas Maduro’s access to the country’s oil revenue. Since then, PDVSA has been pressing its foreign partners at joint ventures in its Orinoco Belt producing area to formally decide whether they will continue in the projects, according to two sources with knowledge of the talks. The joint ventures foreign partners include Norway’s Equinor ASA, U.S.-based Chevron Corp and France’s Total SA.
PDVSA also ordered its Petrocedeno joint venture with Equinor and Total to halt extra-heavy oil output and upgrading due to a lack of naphtha needed to dilute production, as sanctions prohibited U.S. suppliers of the fuel from exporting it to Venezuela.
Reporting by Marianna Parraga in Mexico City and Corina Pons in Caracas; editing by Jonathan Oatis