US Lawmakers Worried Biden's Ease Of Sanctions On Venezuelan Oil Sector May Worsen Crisis

WASHINGTON (Pakistan Point News / Sputnik - 29th November, 2022) The Biden administration's decision to ease sanctions on Venezuela so as to allow Chevron to extract and import oil from the country will worsen the crisis there, Republican leaders of the US House and Senate foreign affairs committees Michael McCaul and James Risch said in a press release.

"Any change in US policy toward Venezuela must be contingent on a transfer of power from the Maduro regime to a democratically elected government," the release said on Monday. "We are gravely concerned that this unilateral easing of sanctions will only perpetuate the crisis that (Venezuelan President Nicolas) Maduro has created for the Venezuelan people."

Earlier on Monday, White House National Security Council spokesperson John Kirby said the United States will not be importing a lot of oil from Venezuela.

On Saturday, the US Treasury provided a new license that allows Chevron to extract oil in Venezuela for six months via its joint venture partners including the Venezuelan state oil company PDVSA. However, the license does not expand operations or allow new US investment in Venezuela's oil sector.

The United States granted the license after the Venezuelan government - led by Maduro - and the opposition resumed talks in Mexico City whereby they came to an agreement on addressing the humanitarian crisis in the country and continuing talks focused on the 2024 elections.

A source familiar with the matter told Sputnik that Western partners would need to be allowed to invest in Venezuela for oil production to move up, but such investments will take time given the US sanctions imposed on the country that are still in place.

The United States is looking at Venezuela as an additional source of crude oil, but has no intention of a blanket lifting of sanctions, sources told Sputnik earlier this month.

On Sunday, a senior Biden administration official said that US-imposed sanctions and restrictions still remain in place and the decision to grant a license should not be interpreted as a permissive environment on sanctions. However, the administration will consider whether its policies remain open to further calibrating of the sanctions which depends on Venezuela taking specific steps to address several key issues.