Venezuela’s state oil company PDVSA has not opened any fresh accounts in Russia’s Gazprombank, the latter said, calling a report by Reuters on the alleged transfer inaccurate.
“No new accounts have been opened,” the bank told Russian media, adding that it does not plan to open any in the near future. It also said that the information provided by Reuters “does not reflect the actual situation.”
At the same time, the bank also admitted that PDVSA does have some accounts in Gazprombank but they were opened “several years ago” as part of the oil giant’s cooperation with some Russian companies.
Earlier on Sunday, Reuters reported, citing its sources, that PDVSA was moving the accounts of its joint ventures with foreign companies to Gazprombank while telling its clients to deposit their payments into the Russian bank from now on.
The move was reportedly prompted by the latest round of crippling sanctions imposed by the US. Introduced in late January, the new restrictions involved seizing $7 billion in PDVSA assets. As Washington seeks to force recognition of self-proclaimed president, Juan Guaido, as the legitimate leader of Venezuela, the sanctions are further expected to affect $11 billion worth of Venezuela’s exports over the coming year, according to US National Security Advisor John Bolton.
Venezuela is home to the world’s largest oil reserves, and oil sales account for roughly 98 percent of export earnings and as much as 50 percent of its GDP. In response to the US sanctions, PDVSA pledged to diversify its sales and reroute exports to customers, who are willing to buy its oil regardless of any unilateral restrictions imposed by Washington.
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