This week, Nicolás Maduro gave two new gas deposits to Russia, offering up 100% of the project and all gas rights exploited. This is further evidence that Vladimir Putin is challenging the US government in the region, and reinforcing his plans to stay in the South American country.
Although Donald Trump has asked Putin to withdraw his troops from Venezuela and stop supporting Nicolás Maduro’s regime, Russia has ignored these requests, and on the contrary is maintaining its support for the dictatorship.
Putin approved the plans on Thursday, June 13, whereby the Russian government-controlled Rosneft company will enjoy the option to export all the gas extracted in both deposits.
These are the Patao and Mejillones deposits, located to the north of the Paria peninsula and which are part of the Mariscal Sucre Project, in northeastern Venezuela, close to Trinidad and Tobago.
Rosneft already participates as a minority partner in several joint oil production projects in Venezuela, such as Petrovictoria, Petromonagas and Petromiranda, in the Orinoco oil belt, as well as Boquerón and Petroperijá, in the state of Zulia.
In March of this year, Nicolás Maduro decided to move the Petroleos de Venezuela office from Lisbon to Moscow to strengthen the strategic partnership between the two countries.
Additionally, on Thursday, the Venezuelan foreign minister announced that Nicolás Maduro will be paying a visit to Moscow.
Russia has become one of Maduro’s greatest allies, providing it with weapons, technology, and other resources.
Trump yields to Russia
An article published in the Spanish daily ABC reveals that Donald Trump has relaxed his position of putting pressure on Russia in relation to Venezuela.
“In the direct talks between the White House and the Kremlin, as well as in contacts between the US Secretary of State, Mike Pompeo, and the Russian Foreign Minister, Sergey Lavrov, the Trump Administration may have already yielded to some demand from Moscow that the US respect Russia’s “geographic proximity” in exchange for Vladimir Putin’s acceptance of new presidential elections in Venezuela. The need for a negotiated solution is opening the way, given that neither (Juan) Guaidó – interim president of Venezuela – has been able to finish Maduro, nor Maduro Guaidó,” reads the article written by Emili J. Blasco.
International analysts say that Russia continues to support Maduro not only to increase its presence in Latin America and inconvenience the United States, but also because of the considerable economic relationship between the two countries.
The Russian oil company Rosneft has channeled more than USD $17 billion in loans to the Chavez regime during the last decade. The company also extracted three million tons of oil in 2017 from its operations in Venezuela. In general, Russia has invested in many Venezuelan industries, from banking to bus assembly. At the same time, Venezuela has been one of the largest buyers of Russian weapons among Latin American countries.
Due to these debts and other economic ties, Putin has backed Maduro, over fears that if Guaidó assumes power, those who supported Maduro will probably be expelled, and Russia’s privileged access to Venezuela’s lucrative energy deposits will be revoked.