Repsol receives US licence for oil and gas operations in Venezuela 

Repsol has secured a licence from the US Treasury Department to continue and expand its oil and gas operations in Venezuela, Reuters reported, citing sources.  The Spanish oil and gas company’s operations in Venezuela include multiple joint ventures (JVs) with PDVSA, Venezuela’s national oil company.  

Recently, the two companies decided to expand one of their joint projects to include two sizeable onshore fields.  Currently, the US administration is reviewing up to 50 licence requests for energy ventures in Venezuela following the reinstatement of oil sanctions on the country.   These sanctions were reintroduced after the US Government concluded that Venezuelan President Nicholas Maduro had failed to conduct adequate elections.   In the previous year, the Biden administration provided sanctions relief to Venezuela through an election agreement signed in Barbados, aiming to promote free and fair elections.

This broad authorisation permitted Venezuela to export oil to preferred markets and receive investments.  In December 2023, Repsol and PDVSA signed an agreement to boost oil and gas production in Venezuela through their JV, Petroquiriquire.   The venture operates in the Quiriquire, Mene Grande and Barúa Motatán fields, with PDVSA holding a 60% stake and Repsol owning the remaining 40%.  Repsol and PDVSA hope to double Petroquiriquire’s oil output, which currently stands at around 20,000 barrels per day of crude and 40 million cubic feet per day of gas.  

The Venezuelan National Assembly has approved the expansion, which will add the La Ceiba and Tomoporo oilfields to Petroquiriquire. These two fields are estimated to contain more than five billion barrels of oil.  The US State Department has previously noted that European companies such as Repsol and Italy’s Eni are allowed to settle pending debts and JV dividends in Venezuela by processing Venezuelan oil.