Chevron first shipment of Venezuelan oil on way to US
US oil conglomerate Chevron's first shipment of Venezuelan oil is heading to the United State as Washington looks to utilize its vast resources.
The first shipment of Venezuelan oil from US oil conglomerate Chevron is currently en route to the United States, a person familiar with the matter told Sputnik on Tuesday.
Two vessels loaded with Venezuelan crude oil are on their way to the United States, with one vessel on its way to Venezuela with US diluent oil, sources added.
Venezuelan state oil company PDVSA currently relies on Iran for diluent supply, a much-needed component for its extra heavy oil production.
According to the Russian news agency, the current shipment headed toward the US would be carrying some one million barrels of Venezuelan crude.
The US Treasury provided in November a new license allowing Chevron to extract oil in Venezuela for six months through its joint venture partners such as PDVSA. However, this license does not expand operations or allow new US investment in Venezuela's oil sector.
US officials underlined that sanctions and restrictions on Venezuela were still in place and this decision should not be interpreted as a permissive environment on sanctions.
Sources had told Sputnik in November that the Biden administration was eyeing Venezuela for its vast reserves of crude oil as an additional source for the valuable resource in light of surging fuel prices in the United States. However, Washington does not intend to blanket lift the sanctions imposed on the Latin American country.
The United States wants to lower gasoline prices for domestic consumers after the Organization of Petroleum Exporting Countries (OPEC+) made cuts in its production line in a bid to stabilize the global market.
According to people familiar with the matter, the United States does not intend to offer Venezuela any sanction relief, though the country making a shift in its policy toward the private sector might allow it to recover the debt owed by the Venezuelan state-owned oil company PDVSA, which seems like a step in a direction President Nicolas Maduro is willing to take.
PDVSA stopped paying creditors in 2017 after the US imposed harsh sanctions on it as part of its sanction regime on Venezuela and its people.
Meanwhile, Washington is concerned about the dependence Venezuelan refineries developed on Iranian heavy crude, especially El Palito. Iran has in the past six months exported 6.8 million barrels of its heavy crude to Venezuela's refineries.
Back in June, during a visit to Tehran, Venezuelan President Nicolas Maduro announced the signing of a 20-year cooperation plan with Iran to expand joint cooperation in various sectors, such as oil, banking, and economics.
If the US were to adjust its policy on Venezuela, that would allow Caracas to import a diluent supply for heavier oil production from the US Gulf Coast, causing a schism to grow between Iran and Venezuela while increasing the transparency of all shipments of that kind, sources added to Sputnik.