Venezuela Oil Czar Courts India After $20 Billion Hit From U.S.

Venezuela's Supreme Court says Guaido's status invalid

As one of the world's major oil companies, PDVSA opened accounts in many large banks, including worldwide ones.

Russia's Gazprombank said on Sunday that PDVSA opened accounts with the bank several years ago and has not opened any accounts recently.

PDVSA's move follows tough new US financial sanctions imposed on January 28 and aimed at blocking leftist President Nicolas Maduro's access to the country's oil revenue.

Venezuelan leaders may be committing "genocide" by blocking food deliveries, the country's opposition leader and self-declared interim president said Sunday. Guaido has said he plans to name a new board of directors for the state producer and its US subsidiary.

"We would like to make formal your knowledge of new banking instructions to make payments in USA dollars or euros", wrote PDVSA's finance vice president, Fernando De Quintal, in a letter dated February 8 to the PDVSA unit that supervises its joint ventures. Since then, PDVSA has been pressing its foreign partners at joint ventures in its Orinoco Belt producing area to formally decide whether they will continue in the projects, according to two sources with knowledge of the talks.

Norway's Equinor and France's Total are among the companies who run joint ventures with PDVSA. "We are being used to keep them in power".

Maduro, after launching a signature-gathering campaign against alleged U.S. interference, has repeatedly stressed his sentiment that the main objective behind Washington's interest in the political outcome in Venezuela is the nation's oil reserves, said to the largest in the world.

The European Union has encouraged member countries to recognize a new temporary government led by Guaido until new elections can be held.

Amid a hyperinflationary economic collapse that has caused malnutrition and the exodus of millions of people, humanitarian aid has become a flashpoint in an intensifying political crisis.

Venezuela's oil minister made a surprise appearance at an energy event in India, as the embattled OPEC producer seeks closer ties with major crude customers in the face of crippling USA sanctions.

India is set to emerge as Venezuela's preferred customer due to the nation's willingness to pay for crude in cash, as opposed to sales to China that are supplied via oil-for-loans agreements, according to Sushant Gupta, director of Asia-Pacific refining at Wood Mackenzie Ltd.

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