Venezuela’s PDVSA Strengthens Russia Ties, Opens Moscow Office

The state oil company of Venezuela, PDVSA, has registered its office in Moscow, after Russian state oil major Rosneft last month became the main trader of Venezuelan crude, Argus Media reported.

“We’ve registered PDVSA in the Russian jurisdiction,” Venezuela’s minister for oil Manuel Quevedo told reporters on Wednesday. In July, Quevedo said that Russia had asked PDVSA to register its own legal entity in the country to help ensure the work of the Moscow representative office of the company.

The PDVSA office was opened in Moscow in March, on instruction by Venezuela’s President Nicolas Maduro. It replaces the company’s Portuguese branch.

According to the SPARK system, on August 6 PDVSA Rusia LLC was officially registered in the Unified State Register of Legal Entities (USRLE). Its owners are Venezuelan PDV EURO-ASIA SA (98%) and its Cuban subsidiary PDVSA Cuba (2%). PDVSA Rusia’s main activity in Russia is registered as business and management consulting.

Rosneft became the main trader of Venezuelan crude in August, facilitating shipping of the country’s oil to China and India. It took some 40% of PDVSA’s exports in July and over 66% in August, according to the firm’s export programs and RefinitivEikon data. This came as an attempt to help Venezuela, where oil accounts for more than 95 percent of export revenue, and to ease losses due to U.S. sanctions.

Washington imposed its first batch of sanctions on Venezuela’s oil industry in January, in an attempt to oust President Nicolas Maduro, whose re-election in late 2018 was viewed by the United States and some Western governments as illegitimate. Instead, they recognize Venezuelan opposition leader Juan Guaido as the country’s rightful head of state.

Both Russia and China, Venezuela’s second largest oil buyer, have called the U.S. sanctions against the Latin American country unilateral and illegal.

In August, Washington imposed a new set of sanctions on Venezuela, with warnings that it would take measures against any company which is “materially assisting” Maduro’s government. The U.S. administration also froze all Venezuelan government assets in the United States.