Lukoil’s Trading Arm Halts Swap Operations with Venezuela

Litasco, the trading arm of Russian oil producer Lukoil, has stopped carrying out swap operations with Venezuela since the U.S. imposed sanctions on state-owned oil company PDVSA in January, Lukoil CEO Vagit Alekperov said on Thursday, according to Reuters.

On Jan. 28, U.S. President Donald Trump’s administration imposed tough financial sanctions aimed at blocking Venezuela’s President Nicolas Maduro’s access to the country’s oil revenue.

Russia is a close ally of Caracas and its oil companies’ operations in Venezuela have come into focus as the country has been plunged into political turmoil and Washington hit state oil company PDVSA with sanctions.

“Before the restrictions were imposed, Litasco had operations to deliver oil products and sell oil, and there were swap operations. Today there are none,” Alekperov said at the Russian Investment Forum (RIF) in the Black Sea resort of Sochi.

He added that the operations were stopped immediately once the sanctions were imposed.

However, the oil arm of Russia’s gas giant Gazprom, Gazprom Neft, does not see major risks for its operations in Venezuela, according to its Chief Executive Alexander Dyukov said at the Sochi conference.

He said his company has not and does not supply Venezuela with oil products needed to dilute PDVSA oil. Dyukov added Venezuela had not approached Gazprom Neft to supply PDVSA with oil products.