Russia interested in increasing oil production in Venezuela: Novak
Russian Deputy Prime Minister announces that not only Moscow is interested in increasing production and sales of products, but Venezuela too, asks that Russian companies continue to work in the country.
Russia is interested in upping oil production at operating projects in Venezuela. In turn, the latter is in favor of continuing Russian companies' work in Venezuela, Russian Deputy Prime Minister Alexander Novak said.
Novak recalled that many oil and gas companies from all over the world -- Europe, America, Russia -- worked in the country before the sanctions imposed on Venezuela, noting that everyone, except Russia, left after the sanctions.
"In the projects in we participate in, for our part, we are interested in increasing production, timely settlements, sales of products. The Venezuelans do not just confirm — they ask that our companies continue to work in Venezuela," Novak told the Rossiya 1 broadcaster.
Read: Venezuela is ready to supply the global oil and gas market - Maduro
The Biden administration has been eyeing Venezuela for its vast reserves of crude oil as an additional source of 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, sources told Russian news agency Sputnik in November.
The United States wanted 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.
Read: Eyeing its own interests, the US considers easing Venezuela sanctions
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 sanctions on Venezuela and its people.
Meanwhile, Washington is concerned about the dependence Venezuelan refineries developed on Iranian heavy crude, especially El Palito. Iran has exported 6.8 million barrels of its heavy oil in the past six months to Venezuela's refineries.
Iranian Oil Minister Jawad Owji announced last month that the Islamic Republic launched its first overseas Iranian-built refinery in Venezuela, El Palito, which has a capacity of refining 100,000 barrels of Venezuelan crude per day.
Iran and Venezuela have managed to withstand economic pressure from the United States and have closely cooperated to offset the impact of illegal sanctions, particularly those targeting their energy sectors.