WASHINGTON, June 1 (Reuters) - Chevron Corp, the
last major U.S. oil company still operating in Venezuela,
received a new U.S. government license allowing it to remain in
Venezuela until Dec. 1, the Treasury Department said on Tuesday.
The United States beginning in 2019 imposed sanctions
barring imports of Venezuelan oil and transactions made in U.S.
dollars with Venezuela's state-run oil company PDVSA, a move
designed to starve the country of oil dollars and oust socialist
President Nicolas Maduro.
Chevron welcomed the renewal, the first under U.S. President
Joe Biden and the eighth since 2019. It continues "to comply
with applicable laws and regulations," governing activities in
Venezuela, said Chevron spokesman Ray Fohr.
The oil firm has been "a constructive presence in the
country, supporting social investment and humanitarian
programs," he added.
Chevron has had a special U.S. operating license exempting
it from sanctions on Venezuela's vital oil sector, though the
administration of former President Donald Trump last year
modified the license to restrict the company from key activities
like drilling and trading. The latest waiver was due to expire
on June 3.
Tuesday's renewal of the license, which also applies to oil
service companies Halliburton, Schlumberger Limited
, Baker Hughes and Weatherford International,
continues those restrictions.
The companies are also not authorized to repair or improve
wells, hire additional staff or services, pay dividends to
Venezuelan state-run PDVSA or negotiate any new loans.
The license allows the companies only to conduct
transactions with PDVSA "necessary for the limited maintenance
of essential operations in Venezuela or the wind down of
operations" by Dec. 1. The companies would risk U.S. government
sanctions or punitive measures if they fail to comply.
(Reporting by Daphne Psaledakis, Luc Cohen and Gary McWilliams
Editing by Marguerita Choy)