On 25 January 2019 President Trump issued an Executive Order to the effect that Petroleos de Venezuela SA (PDVSA) is included in the definition of “Government of Venezuela” as referred to in several Executive Orders including 13808 of August 2017 and 13850 of November 2018, thereby bringing PDVSA within the terms of those Executive Orders.
On 28 January 2019 PDVSA was designated and added to the U.S. SDN list.
Concurrent with that action a range of General Licences have been issued by the U.S. Department of the Treasury. Those licences primarily impact on U.S. persons/entities. They include a number of cut-off dates which are tabulated as follows:
The winding down of pre-28 January 2019 existing PDVSA business is authorised until 27 February 2019 (save for item 3 below)
U.S. employees/contractors of non-U.S. companies outside the United States have until 29 March to wind down pre-January 28 2019 contracts with PDVSA.
Purchase and importation of petroleum/petroleum products from PDVSA to the U.S. is permitted until 28 April 2019
PDV Holding Inc. (PDVH) and Citgo can engage in business which involves the importation of petroleum/petroleum products to the U.S. from PDVSA until 28 April 2019
Transactions, save as provided under 4 above, can continue with PDVH or Citgo until 27 July 2019.
PDVSA business through Nynas is permitted until 27 July 2019
Any payments made directly to PDVSA through U.S. banks will be blocked. Instead, the General Licenses require any payments to PDVSA for permitted activities to be paid into a blocked, interest-bearing account in the United States.
The current understanding of the situation is that the Executive Orders and General Licences amount to blocking measures applicable to U.S. persons rather than secondary sanctions which might impact on non-U.S. persons. Further information will be provided as and when clarification is obtained from OFAC on the issues raised but Members should exercise caution in their dealings with PDVSA in the interim.
The texts of the various Executive Orders and General Licences are available on the OFAC website, which can be found here.
As always, Members with specific questions concerning these measures and any other sanctions matters should contact the Managers.