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Biden eases some oil sanctions on Venezuela as talks resume with opposition


WASHINGTON — The Biden administration eased some oil sanctions on Venezuela on Saturday in an attempt to shore up recently-revived talks between the government of President Nicolas Maduro and his opposition.

The Treasury Department is allowing Chevron to resume “limited” energy production in Venezuela after years of sanctions that have sharply cut oil and gas revenues flowing to Maduro’s government. Earlier this year, the Treasury Department again allowed California-based Chevron and other U.S. companies to perform basic maintenance on wells it operates jointly with state oil giant PDVSA.

Under the new policy, profits from energy sales will be used to pay off debt owed to Chevron, not to secure PDVSA’s profits.

Talks between Maduro’s government and the United Platform resumed in Mexico City on Saturday after a break of more than a year. It remained to be seen whether they would take a different course from previous rounds of talks that failed to ease the country’s political deadlock.

A senior administration official, who spoke to reporters on the condition of anonymity to brief reporters on the US action, said the easing of sanctions was not related to the administration’s efforts to increase global energy production following Russia’s invasion of Ukraine and that the decision was not expected. affect global energy prices.

The official said the US would closely monitor Maduro’s commitment to the talks and reserved the right to reimpose tougher sanctions or continue easing them depending on how the talks go.

“If Maduro again tries to use these negotiations to buy time to further consolidate his criminal dictatorship, the United States and our international partners must withdraw the full force of our sanctions that brought his regime to the negotiating table in the first place,” he said. New Jersey Democratic Senator Bob Menendez, chairman of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, said in a statement.

Chevron said the US-issued license meant the company “can now commercialize the oil currently being produced” through the joint venture. “We are determined to continue our constructive presence in the country and continue to support social investment programs aimed at providing humanitarian assistance.”

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