The Cradle
Venezuelan president and Iranian oil minister discuss bypassing US sanctions
The Iranian official travelled to Venezuela to sign an energy agreement and visit several oil refineries
By News Desk - May 03 2022
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(Photo credit: Venezuelan Presidency)

Iranian Oil Minister, Javad Owji, met with Venezuelan President Nicolas Maduro in Caracas on 3 May to discuss energy relations and ways to overcome the repercussions of US sanctions unilaterally imposed on the two countries.

“I received His Excellency the Minister of Oil of the sisterly Islamic Republic of Iran, Javad Owji, and it was a fruitful meeting to deepen fraternal relations and coordination in the energy field,” Maduro said via Twitter.

Owji, who arrived in Venezuela on 30 April, also met with his Venezuelan counterpart, Tareck El Aissami, and discussed “the construction of routes and mechanisms to overcome the unilateral coercive measures imposed by the United States government and allied countries,” according to a statement by the Bolivarian Republic’s petroleum ministry.

This comes just weeks after a rare meeting was held between Maduro and top US officials in Caracas, which fueled speculation that sanctions waivers would be granted to free up oil supplies after the start of the Russian-Ukraine conflict.

The White House later clarified that it was not engaged in “active conversation” with Venezuela regarding oil imports.

Venezuela and Iran have recently stepped-up energy cooperation to overcome US sanctions, with Venezuela importing condensate from Iran to dilute the extra-thick Orinoco crude into an exportable blend.

According to a report from a US media outlet in January, Venezuela managed to double its oil production to about 900,000 barrels of oil per day in December 2021, as a result of assistance rendered by the government of Iran.

On 31 January, an Iranian supertanker started discharging about 2 million barrels of Iranian condensate at Venezuela’s state-run oil company’s main port, as part of a bilateral deal that defies crushing US sanctions imposed on both nations.

This marked the fifth shipment of condensate state-owned Petroleos de Venezuela (PDVSA) has received from Iran since September 2020.