Rosneft Rejects U.S. Sanctions Threat over Venezuela Business

The United States is using the threat of sanctions as a form of unfair competition, Russia’s state-run oil giant Rosneft said Tuesday, adding that attempts by Washington to curb its business in Venezuela would be illegal, reports.  

U.S. special envoy to Venezuela Elliott Abrams said Tuesday that Washington could impose sanctions on Rosneft “at some point,” as he criticized the European Union for its failure to impose tougher sanctions on Caracas. 

Rosneft has become the main trader of Venezuelan crude oil, helping it offset the loss of traditional dealers who are avoiding it for fear of breaching U.S. sanctions.

“Any attempt to restrict the company or its subsidiaries in returning investments in any form permitted by law … would constitute unlawful expropriation of such investments by the American authorities,” Rosneft said in a statement.

The company added that all its oil operations in Venezuela had been agreed before U.S. sanctions were imposed and rhetoric from the U.S. government was aimed at creating tensions on global oil markets.

The U.S. sanctions threat “ultimately affects the investment value of the company,” Rosneft said. The Russian state company added that it seeks “open dialogue with U.S. authorities to clarify its position.”

Oil accounts for more than 95% of Venezuela’s export revenue and Washington has warned trading houses and other buyers about possible sanctions if they prop up Caracas.