The Biden administration extended the special license that allows Chevron Corp and four oil service companies— Halliburton, Schlumberger Limited, Baker Hughes, and Weatherford International— to remain in Venezuela until December 1, said the Treasury Department on Tuesday.
The license holds the same limitations imposed by former President Donald Trump last year, which allows American companies to only perform limited maintenance. The latest waiver was due to expire on June 3.
Chevron stressed it remains “committed to the safety and wellbeing of our employees and their families, the integrity of our joint venture assets, and the company’s social and humanitarian programs during these challenging times,” said Chevron’s spokesman, Ray Fohr, who added, “Chevron will continue to comply with applicable laws and regulations in relation to the activities that it is authorized to undertake in Venezuela.”
The renewal comes at a time when Venezuela is reinforcing its relationship with the China-Russia-Iran “axis of evil,” as that country’s ruler, Dictator Nicolas Maduro, continues to offer those three nations unabated access to his nation’s natural resources. These nations have also been very helpful in helping Maduro circumvent sanctions through “ghost” oil shipments — through tankers that turn off their transponders and therefore can’t be traced— that end up in China, enabling Venezuela to produce and trade enough crude to maintain its iron grip on the country while basically handcuffing Western producers.
At a recent industry conference hosted by the Institute of the Americas, energy expert David Voght said that major Western oil companies will be instrumental to “reclaim” Venezuela’s economy but current limitations imposed by sanctions “make that very difficult…as none of them can lift crude and none of them can get paid.”
But these “axis of evil” nations not only provide economic support but also assist militarily.
The bulk of Venezuela’s military is supplied by Russia and China. However, U.S. Senators Marco Rubio and Rick Scott are questioning why Iranian warships are now heading for Venezuela, if not to “deliver military cargo they have sold them,” or to taunt the U.S. “by conducting joint military operations.”
But while Iran poses a considerable threat to U.S. interests in the Middle East and is now increasing its capabilities in Venezuela —with support from Hezbollah terrorists reportedly training under Maduro’s guise— China remains the biggest threat to U.S.sovereignty.
Sen. Rubio has been involved in political and diplomatic engagements with China and has warned of the growing threat the Communist Chinese government poses to the U.S. from Latin America.
In a statement to The Floridian, Rubio emphasized that the Chinese threat is “real” and that its efforts to “control vast resources” in countries like Venezuela “pose a direct threat to our national security interests.”
“China’s threat to our region is real, even more so when it comes to propping up despotic regimes in our region. Ironically amid this global pandemic, which originated in their country, China is exploiting and coercing vulnerable nations to bend to their will. Having China control vast resources would pose a direct threat to our national security interests and the stability of our region,” stated Sen. Rubio.