Washington Authorizes 4 Oil Corporations to Pay Taxes in Venezuela (+OFAC)

Orinoco Tribune, May 27, 2023 —

The US Department of Treasury authorized four US oil corporations operating in Venezuela to pay taxes to the Venezuelan government, an order which is in contrast to the repeated declaration of the US government of not paying the government of President Nicolás Maduro or giving resources to it.

The regulation issued by the Office of Foreign Assets Control (OFAC) was signed on Tuesday, May 23, with the title “Venezuela Sanctions Regulations, 31 CFR part 591, General License No 8L,” and summary: “Authorizing transactions involving Petróleos de Venezuela, S.A. (PDVSA) necessary for the limited maintenance of essential operations in Venezuela or the wind down of operations in Venezuela for certain entities.”

The license authorizes transactions of Halliburton, Schlumberger Limited, Baker Hughes Holdings LLC, and Weatherford International with PDVSA until November 19, 2023.

In its cryptic language, the license authorizes activities “that are ordinarily incident and necessary to the limited maintenance of essential operations, contracts, or other agreements, that: (i) are for safety or the preservation of assets in Venezuela; (ii) involve PDVSA or any entity in which PDVSA owns, directly or indirectly, a 50 percent or greater interest; and (iii) were in effect prior to July 26, 2019.”

The document further explains in a note that the transactions and activities necessary for the security or preservation of assets in Venezuela authorized in this general license include the transactions and activities necessary to ensure the safety of personnel or the integrity of operations and assets in Venezuela; participation in shareholder and board of directors meetings; making payments on third-party invoices for transactions and activities authorized by the license or incurred before April 21, 2020; payment of local taxes and purchase of utility services in Venezuela; and payment of salaries for employees and contractors in Venezuela.

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