Bonaire Petroleum Corporation, the operator of an oil terminal operated by Venezuela’s State-owned oil and natural gas company Petróleos de Venezuela, SA (PDVSA) has declared bankruptcy, blaming it on US sanctions, Reuters has reported, citing court documents.
PDVSA is the primary source of Venezuela’s income and foreign currency.
As outlined by the Department of the Treasury’s Office of Foreign Assets Control (OFAC), Washington first imposed sanctions on PDVSA in early 2019, limiting its oil sales and cutting off access to its main export market, the US.
The intent is to bring pressure to bear on the head of the Government of Venezuela, President Nicolas Maduro, with whom the US has been at loggerheads over democratic progress in the South American nation.
On January 18, 2019, the Department of the Treasury’s Office of Foreign Assets Control (OFAC) designated Petroleos de Venezuela, S.A. (PdVSA) pursuant to Executive Order (E.O.) 13850 for operating in the oil sector of the Venezuelan economy.
In a release at the time, the department quoted Secretary of the Treasury Steven T Mnuchin as saying, “The United States is holding accountable those responsible for Venezuela’s tragic decline, and will continue to use the full suite of its diplomatic and economic tools to support Interim President Juan Guaidó, the National Assembly, and the Venezuelan people’s efforts to restore their democracy.”
As reported by oilprice.com on March 24, 2021, court documents, indicate that the operator of the terminal on the Caribbean island of Bonaire filed for bankruptcy earlier this month, saying it could not keep paying its debts because US. sanctions had cut off its access to “international trade” and to cash in bank accounts
Bonaire Petroleum Corporation in its filing said that there was a third party that could provide the money it needed to “satisfy its preferred creditors and offer a settlement to its unsecured creditors”.
New US President Joseph R Biden is said to be waiting on signs of political change before any policy adjustment.
Maduro, in turn, has been making comments to the Venezuelan National Assembly to look at reforms to the country’s oil law that would provide leeway to “new business models”.