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US oil major wins license to continue importing Venezuelan asphalt

US oil major wins license to continue importing Venezuelan asphalt

U.S. Energy Secretary Harry Sargent III granted a license to continue importing asphalt from Venezuela without violating U.S.-imposed sanctions.

By Nicole Yapour / bloomberg.com

Oil companies seeking to stay or operate in Venezuela are seeking approval from the U.S. Treasury after Washington reinstated sanctions lifted last month.

Texas-based Global Oil Terminals, owned by Sargent, signed a deal in January with state-owned Petroleos de Venezuela SA to import six shipments of 95,000 barrels of asphalt for infrastructure projects in the United States.

The two-year waiver, obtained on May 24, will allow global oil terminals to continue buying and shipping asphalt to the United States and the Caribbean region, Sargent said in an interview. A U.S. Treasury press official did not immediately respond to a request for comment.

The US is trying to use sanctions as a tool to ensure a fair presidential election in July. President Joe Biden’s administration recently reinstated controls on Venezuela’s gold and oil sectors after Nicolas Maduro’s government backtracked on some election guarantees it had agreed to last year.

Other oil companies already operating in Venezuela, such as French driller Maurel & Prom and Spanish oil major Repsol SA, received licenses this month to continue their operations under sanctions. Other companies such as Reliance Industries and Ecopetrol SA are also seeking exemptions.

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