Indian company Reliance renews its request for a US license to import Venezuelan oil, sources say

Indian company Reliance renews its request for a US license to import Venezuelan oil, sources say
Indian company Reliance renews its request for a US license to import Venezuelan oil, sources say

Indian refiner Reliance Industries has reapplied to the United States for permission to import crude oil from sanctioned Venezuela, three people familiar with the matter said, and to resume oil trade between the OPEC producer and the country. former second destination for its oil.

The French oil producer

Maurel & Prom

said separately on Monday that the United States had granted it a license on Friday to conduct oil and gas operations in Venezuela for the next two years.

In April, the United States did not renew a general license allowing Venezuela to export oil and fuel to its chosen markets, and gave companies 45 days to end their transactions. The United States, however, indicated that individual authorizations would be granted to foreign companies wishing to do oil business with Venezuela.

The license had largely eased oil sanctions first imposed on Venezuela in 2019, reimposing punitive measures in response to President Nicolas Maduro’s failure to meet his election commitments.

After sanctions were eased in October, Reliance and other Indian companies that have done business in the past with Venezuela applied to the U.S. Treasury for individual approvals. These were not granted.

Indian refiners, however, have resumed purchases of Venezuelan oil through intermediaries. Since October, Reliance has chartered at least one supertanker to buy crude from state oil company PDVSA. It also received shipments of Venezuelan oil from third parties, according to internal PDVSA documents seen by Reuters.

Before U.S. oil sanctions were first imposed on Venezuela, Reliance was the second-largest individual buyer of Venezuelan crude after China’s CNPC.

Reliance did not respond to a request for comment. The US Treasury Department declined to comment.

Maurel & Prom’s license allows it to continue its production activities within the framework of an agreement signed with Venezuela last November. It is the first authorization issued by the United States under the exemptions it granted last month from its sanctions regime reimposed on the South American country.

“This gives us good visibility for the future,” Olivier de Langavant, CEO of M&P, said in a statement. The company holds a 40% stake in an oil exploitation joint venture with PDVSA and has agreed to increase oil production in the field.

In recent years, the U.S. Treasury and State Departments have received dozens of license requests from companies seeking to invest in Venezuela’s energy industry or import Venezuelan crude or gas. Only a few of these applications have been approved, including a major license granted to US oil major Chevron.

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