U.S. extends defense for Citgo from PDVSA creditors by July

FILE Photo: Citgo Petroleum Company headquarters is pictured in Houston, Texas, U.S., January 25, 2019. REUTERS/Laila Kearney/File Photograph

WASHINGTON (Reuters) – The U.S. Treasury Department on Wednesday prolonged a measure barring transactions associated to Venezuelan point out oil firm Petroleos de Venezuela’s 2020 bond till July 2021, amid weighty U.S. sanctions on the South American country.

The shift proficiently bars PDVSA creditors from seizing shares in the dad or mum organization of U.S. refiner Citgo Petroleum Corp, a PDVSA subsidiary – which ended up made use of as collateral for the bond – for the next seven months.

A preceding measure was set to expire on Jan. 19, the working day in advance of U.S. President-elect Joe Biden is set to be sworn in.

President Donald Trump’s administration in early 2019 sanctioned PDVSA, the lifeblood of Venezuela’s economic climate, as aspect of its exertion to oust President Nicolas Maduro, who dozens of Western nations accuse of corruption, human legal rights violations, and rigging his 2018 re-election.

All those sanctions, collectively with Washingtons’ recognition of opposition leader Juan Guaido as Venezuela’s genuine president, paved the way for the opposition to take handle of Citgo, the eighth-biggest U.S. refiner with a ability of some 769,000 barrels per working day.

Citgo did not immediately reply to a request for remark.

U.S. officials have argued that making it possible for lenders to control the business would signify a setback for Guaido and U.S. coverage.

Maduro has accused the opposition of “stealing” Citgo, and argues that Washington is trying to get to oust him in a coup in get to command the OPEC nation’s broad oil reserves.

Reporting by Susan Heavey in Washington, Luc Cohen in New York and Gary McWilliams in Houston