The US Treasury Department gives Chevron permission to expand oil pumping in Venezuela

Chevron Corp. has received US approval to resume and expand its oil activities in Venezuela, the US government announced on Saturday.

The Treasury Department said Chevron has been granted an extended license to import petroleum or petroleum products produced by its joint venture with PDVSA, the Venezuelan state oil company. The approval comes after talks resumed between the Venezuelan government, led by Socialist President Nicol├ís Maduro, and the opposition’s Unitary Platform.

“This action reflects the long-standing US policy of providing targeted relief from sanctions based on concrete steps that ease the suffering of the Venezuelan people and support the restoration of democracy,” the Treasury Department said.

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US officials had previously offered to ease sanctions and release some Venezuelan prisoners in US prisons, subject to continued talks and agreements to strengthen democracy in Venezuela.

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Chevron gas station

The Chevron logo is displayed at a Chevron gas station on October 28, 2022 in Los Angeles. (Mario Tama/Getty Images/Getty Images)

Venezuelan President Nicolas Maduro

FILE: Venezuelan President Nicolas Maduro faces a rally at the Presidential Palace in Caracas, Venezuela, on July 11, 2022. (AP Photo/Ariana Cubillos, File/AP Newsroom)

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As energy prices have risen and fueled inflation, President Biden has released more than 200 million barrels from the country’s emergency oil reserves to provide relief at the pump. His administration has urged foreign governments like Venezuela to also increase oil production amid global shortages due to sanctions on Russia over the Ukraine war, OPEC+ announcing production cuts and slowing US shale production.

FILE PHOTO: A general view of the Amuay refinery complex belonging to the Venezuelan state oil company PDVSA in Punto Fijo, Venezuela, Nov. 17, 2016. (EUTERS/Carlos Garcia Rawlins/File Photo / Reuters Photos)

Venezuela produces up to 800,000 barrels of oil per day. That figure is higher than the average of 525,000 barrels it produced a year ago, but a long way from the failed target of 1 million a day by the end of 2021 and nowhere near the more than 3 million barrels a day the country produced in the 1990s.

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“The announcements made by the Unitary Platform and the Maduro regime are important steps in the right direction to restore democracy in the country,” the finance ministry said. “The United States welcomes and supports the reopening of negotiations between the Unified Platform and the Maduro regime, as part of our long-standing policy of supporting the peaceful restoration of democracy, free and fair elections and respect for rights and freedoms. of Venezuelans.”

A Chevron spokesperson told Reuters the company was reviewing licensing terms.

Bradford Betz of FOX Business contributed to this report.

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