MADURO FIGHTS BACK: Venezuela and China expand oil refinery defying US sanctions

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Venezuela and China, amid increased US sanctions, have expanded oil refineries to increase crude oil production on Venezuelan soil.

The event was broadcast on Twitter by Venezuelan President Nicolás Maduro. It is a joint venture between PDVSA and the Chinese CNPC, called Sinovensa and located in the Orenoco belt in southern Venezuela. The Sinovensa produces crude Merey for export.

Maduro was attended by diplomats from the Chinese embassy and CNPC representatives.

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“Extraordinary News! The first phase of the expansion of the “Jose” Mixing Plant in the Anzoátegui state began, which will incorporate 165 thousand barrels of oil a day into national production. A mixed investment with our Chinese brothers that exceeds $ 1,860 million,” Maduro said in a tweet.

In turn, Venezuelan Oil Minister Manuel Quevedo said that the joint venture will increase refined oil production from 125.5 thousand to 220 thousand barrels, producing no more 105 thousand barrels per day, but 165 thousand barrels of heavy oil a day. According to the minister, in the first stage, the investments were of $800 million, but an expansion of another $1 billion is expected.

Asset Lock

On Tuesday, the White House reported that US President Donald Trump signed a decree to block the assets of Venezuelan authorities in US jurisdiction, including the country’s central bank and state oil company PDVSA.

In addition, the decree allows for the imposition of sanctions against foreign citizens who provide support, goods or services to anyone subject to sanctions, including the Venezuelan authorities.

On January 28, the United States announced sanctions against the Venezuelan national oil and gas company PDVSA, blocking $7 billion worth of oil and banning transactions. According to the White House, another $11 billion will be lost in oil exports.

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