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Javad Owji, the Iranian Oil Ministry is making a rare trip to Venezuela that includes visiting oil facilities and signing energy deals between Venezuela and Iran.

On April 28th, 2022, Javad Owji and a delegation arrived in Caracas according to people who asked not to be identified. They visited the Paraguana refining complex in western Venezuela with Petroleos de Venezuela SA head Asdrubal Chavez. Both are expected to sign energy cooperation deals. Venezuela’s oil ministry and state-owned oil company PDVSA did not reply to a request for comment.

Iran and Venezuela are under the US sanctions which doesn’t currently import oil from either nation. Washington did not even lift its sanctions during the pandemic, terribly affecting Tehran and Caracas’ ability to combat COVID-19. In March, 2022, Venezuelan President Nicolas Maduro met senior American officials in Caracas and after that, speculations came out that sanction relief was on the table to free up oil supplies in the wake of Russia’s invasion of Ukraine.

The two countries have increased the cooperation after the US sanctions were imposed. Venezuela imports condensate from Iran used to dilute heavy crude oil into an exportable blend.

Venezuelan oil experts confirmed the significant growth in the country’s oil production, underlining that the Iranian naphtha is essential for the government in Caracas to be able to sell crude from the Orinoco Oil Belt, which needs to be diluted to be sold on world markets.

Iran has committed to develop and renovate projects in the Venezuelan oil and gas industry, according to the Iranian Oil Minister Javad Owji. He said on February 2022 that Iran and Venezuela had signed petroleum sector cooperation deals on the sidelines of a GECF summit of gas exporting countries in Doha, Qatar.


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