The report that Venezuela's state oil company PDVSA has opened its new accounts in Russia's Gazprombank has nothing to do with reality, a spokesman for the credit organization told TASS on Sunday.
Venezuelan government claims that the country does not experience a humanitarian crisis, with President Nicolas Maduro, who holds Washington responsible for staging a state coup in Venezuela, having slammed U.S. assistance as a "political show". As Washington seeks to force recognition of self-proclaimed president, Juan Guaido, as the legitimate leader of Venezuela, the sanctions are further expected to affect $11 billion worth of Venezuela's exports over the coming year, according to US National Security Advisor John Bolton.
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. Several years ago PDVSA opened accounts in Gazprombank Group as part of cooperation with several Russian companies, which are the bank's clients.
Even after a first round of financial sanctions in 2017, PDVSA's joint ventures managed to maintain bank accounts in the United States and Europe to receive proceeds from oil sales. The decision was made amid tension with some of its partners, which have withdrawn staff from Caracas since sanctions were imposed.
On February 4, most European Union member-states recognized Guaido as Venezuela's interim president. In response to the United States sanctions, PDVSA pledged to diversify its sales and reroute exports to customers, who are willing to buy its oil regardless of any unilateral restrictions imposed by Washington.