On November 26, 2022, the Department of the Treasury’s Office for Foreign Assets Control issued Venezuela General License 41, “Authorizing Certain Transactions Related to Chevron Corporation’s Joint Venture in Venezuela,” pursuant to Venezuela Sanctions Regulations, 31 CFR Part 591, and issued two Frequently Asked Questions to clarify the provisions in the new license. OFAC reports that this general license was issued in response to an announcement by the Unitary Platform and Maduro regime regarding the resumption of talks in Mexico City regarding the 2024 elections and a humanitarian agreement, which focuses on education, health, food security, and other service programs that will benefit the Venezuelan people. OFAC has explained that it issued GL 41 to enable the Chevron Corporation to resume certain petroleum extraction operations in Venezuela in accordance with a longstanding US policy to provide targeted sanctions that will support the restoration of democracy for the Venezuelan people and alleviate their suffering.
GL 41 authorizes certain transactions related to the operation and management of Chevron’s joint ventures in Venezuela involving Petróleos de Venezuela, S.A. (PdVSA) that would otherwise be prohibited by Executive Order 13850 of November 1, 2018, as amended by EO 13857, or EO 13884. GL 41 does not authorize any other activities with the PDVSA and prevents the PdVSA from receiving profits from Chevron’s oil sales. OFAC will renew the provisions in GL 41 on the first of each month for an initial period of 6 months. In light of the new provisions in GL 41, OFAC extended Venezuela GL 8K until May 26, 2023 and removed Chevron from that license.
Concurrent with the issuance of GL 41, OFAC issued FAQs 1098 and 1099. FAQ 1098 focuses on the types of transactions that are permitted in GL 41, while FAQ 1099 provides that non-US persons, including foreign financial institutions, do not risk exposure to US sanctions if they facilitate transactions that are authorized by GL 41.