Rosneft Hands Over Its Venezuela Assets to the Russian State to Shield Itself From Uncle Sam’s Sanctions

Now if Washington wants to keep this it will have to sanction Russia itself

In the past weeks the Kremlin has shown it’s willing to punch back as well as take drastic necessary defensive action in the face of Washington sanctions at a moment America is preoccupied and made more vulnerable by the coronavirus threat — first by dumping OPEC+ and MbS, effectively declaring war on US shale — and now by taking aggressive measures to insulate Russia’s state-controlled Rosneft.

On Saturday Rosneft announced it has sold off all its Venezuelan oil assets to an unnamed Russian state entity. “The government of the Russian Federation has acquired assets in Venezuela from Rosneft. A company 100% owned by the Russian Federation has become the owner,” Russia’s TASS said.

A company statement framed the move as key to protecting shareholders’ interests at a moment the Trump administration ramps up pressure on Maduro and external entities still doing business with Caracas. It’s been widely reported that Rosneft has explored exit options since early 2019 when Venezuelan assets continued rapidly losing money, leading to worsened current operating conditions.

“As a result of the concluded agreement all assets and trading operations of Rosneft in Venezuela and/or connected with Venezuela will be disposed of, terminated or liquidated,” Rosneft said. “We took this decision in the interests of our shareholders, as a publicly traded international company,” Rosneft spokesman Mikhail Leontyev further told TASS. “And we have a right to expect, indeed, that the US regulators fulfill their public promises.”

On Thursday the White House went so far as to issue a $15 million bounty on Maduro and his inner circle over drug trafficking charges, amid sweeping indictments against what Washington dubbed a vast narco-state criminal enterprise orchestrated by the regime. It appears Rosneft took note of Trump’s willingness to press his economic war on Venezuela further even as the United States now leads the world in numbers of confirmed coronavirus cases, which threatens to decimate an economy still on “pause” and extreme uncertainty still on the horizon.

All of this follows in mid-February the US slapping new sanctions on Rosneft Trading SA, a unit of Rosneft, and the company’s executive Didier Casimiro, accusing it of being the “primary culprit” of a campaign to evade Washington’s pressure campaign on the Maduro government. But the sanctions stopped just short of naming parent company Rosneft, though the Trump administration long accused it of “actively evading sanctions — engaging in ruses, engaging in deception.”

Bloomberg observed that “The fight over Venezuela fits into a much larger geopolitical battle between Trump and Vladimir Putin, with both turning to oil as the weapon of choice.” And the report further cited Russia’s ambassador to Venezuela, Sergey Melik-Magdasarov, as saying:

“Don’t worry! This is about Rosneft’s assets being transferred to Russia’s government directly. We keep moving forward together!,” he [Amb. Melik-Magdasarov] said, in a message that also posted on the embassy website.

The assets include Rosneft’s stakes in local upstream companies Petromonagas, Petroperija, Boqueron, Petromiranda and Petrovictoria, as well as oil-service, commercial and trading units.

The Russian Federation controls Rosneft with just over 50% of its shares, while BP Plc is the second-largest shareholder with 19.75%, and Qatar’s QH Oil Investments owns 18.93%.

Rosneft’s position has long been that US sanctions are illegal and that its own operations in Venezuela are commercial in nature, not political, after in prior months the company’s cooperation with state-run PDVSA became an “open secret”.

The ultimate strategy behind Saturday’s dramatic announcement is as yet uncertain, it should be noted:

But Russ Dallen, head of Caracas Capital Markets brokerage, cautioned that it’s too early to know for sure whether the move is intended to bolster Maduro.

“We don’t know whether the new state entity is a cemetery corporation, where companies go to die, or whether the Russians are simply doing it to take Rosneft — which is their crown jewel and provides a large portion of Russia’s income — out of the way of sanctions and Putin will use the new company to continue to help Maduro,” he said.

Rosneft has emerged as one of PDVSA’s closest joint venture partners, being crucial as a heavy lifter keeping Venezuelan oil afloat at a moment Washington tries to strangle and blockade the socialist state’s industry.

Source: Zero Hedge

  1. Antti Sankari says

    I very much doubt any sanctions will be lifted anytime soon. The US has no motivation to do it, these are made up reasons anyway. So the sanctions stay.

    They will just claim it’s another sinister Russian attempt to evade the righteous sanctions.

  2. James Willy says

    Right on Nick. Keep that middle finger HIGH for these yanky filthy pigs. Right on. Now arrest guido and put him in a cell 3 x 2 feet until he’s DEAD. Run live camera from his cell block. We wanna see him suffer. Now let’s hope yanky will attack Russia. That would be soooooooo funny.

    1. itchyvet says

      Yankee would never attack Russia directly. They only attack nations that are defenceless.

  3. isaac says

    All the deluded fools who repeat “America bad, Russia good” mindlessly like a bunch of good goy sheeple who don’t even realize their only choice is not between freedom and tyranny but between being ruled over by NWO West or NWO East. Gee, I really hate to brake to news to them that the pending collapse of The Evil Empire is being orchestrated by the architects of NWO East, who, btw, are steering the jewmurikan empire blimp. SMDH, no wonder “they” call “US” goyim – dumb cattle. Enjoy the mooing above and below.

  4. Mary E says

    Russia has a huge vested interest in Venezuela as well as does China….between them, they will protect those interests as well as Maduro from the US. Those sanctions are ridiculous…how does one country take over the international economy in one fell swoop by doing that??? And why? All for their god, oil. It is past time that large powerful countries put sanctions on the US…the time is ripe with Washington fighting politically for trump’s position as president…during the COVID 19 epidemic. Just take this opportunity! The grip that the US has on the world has got to end….and soon! It is committing genocide in Iran with sanctions, as well as Venezuela— though I believe that both countries are being helped out by Russia and China….as well as Cuba, with its myriad of medical doctors. The US has got to be taught a lesson it will never forget: hands off of other countries – or else!

    1. Per says

      “The US has got to be taught a lesson it will never forget”
      I think the lesson will come sooner then we think but later then we hope, the covid bs off shutting down the poors income WILL backfire.
      How? idk, the options are legion. “Therefore, a state of emergency, and a ban on movement, and stopping enterprises, and non-payment of salaries. This is designed to ensure that people themselves want dictatorships.”
      This article is about the ukraine but much off it is universal and happening as we speak,, one thing is certain! WE LIVE IN INTERESTING TIMES, as a kid watching “Rambo first blood” i NEVER imagined i would witness the imperial decline..

  5. Per says

    i saw some gloating on a few bluecheck twitter accounts yesterday, they got ratioed and roasted for being dumb tho

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