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Petróleos de Venezuela, S.A. (PDVSA)



According to the U.S. Department of State, PDVSA was sanctioned in May 2011 because it "delivered at least two cargoes of reformate to Iran between December 2010 and March 2011, worth approximately $50 million. Reformate is a blending component that improves the quality of gasoline. The sanctions we have imposed on PDVSA prohibit the company from competing for U.S. government procurement contracts, from securing financing from the Export-Import Bank of the United States, and from obtaining U.S. export licenses. These sanctions do not apply to PDVSA subsidiaries and do not prohibit the export of crude oil to the United States" (U.S. Department of State, May 24, 2011).

Date: December 2005 – Ongoing

Deal: According to Iranian company Petropars' website, the company signed a deal with Venezuela's state-owned PDVSA on December 2, 2005 for quantification studies of the Ayacucho block 7 in the Orinoco oil belt, off the coast of Venezuela. The study was completed in March 2008 (Petropars Website, accessed July 13, 2010). In September 2006, Business News Americas reported that PDVSA and Petropars had begun drilling in the block (Business News Americas, September 21, 2006).

PDVSA's website reported in July 2007 that Iran and Venezuela had agreed to speed up their project in the Ayacucho block 7 through an additional investment of $4 billion. According to Venezuelan energy and petroleum minister and PDVSA president Rafael Ramírez, "certification works are under way successfully in Block Ayacucho, where there are some 31 billion barrels of original oil in place, and production is expected to begin in around two years" (PDVSA Website, July 10, 2007).

An industry publication reported in November 2009 that PDVSA expected oil production to begin at the site in 2012 (APS Review Oil Market Trends, November 16, 2009).

Date: 2006 – Ongoing

Deal: According to Petropars' website, the company is helping PDVSA subsidiary Corporacion Venezolana del Petroleo (CVP), to develop Venezuela's North of Paria offshore project by providing management and technical services (Petropars Website, accessed July 13, 2010). Iran's Shana reported in June 2006 that Petropars managing director Gholamreza Manouchehri said, "We have signed a relevant contract and a group of Iranian manpower for offshore structures will be soon dispatched to Venezuela" (Shana (Iran), June 6, 2006).

Date: August 2006 - Unknown

Deal: Zawya reported that in August 2006, PDVSA signed an agreement with Petropars to conduct a joint study of Venezuela's Cardon-2 offshore gas block (Zawya, August 2006).

Petropars put a hold on the development of this field in March 2007. According to an industry publication, a Petropars representative stated that PDVSA had not provided sufficient information about the block's potential (Platts Oilgram News, March 27, 2007). Another industry publication reported that as of November 2007, the deal was still awaiting government approval (APS Review Oil Market Trends, November 12, 2007).

Date: August 2006 – Early 2007

Deal: According to Petropars' website, the company signed an agreement with CVP for quantification activities at the Ayacucho blocks 1 and 2, which began in August 2006. The project was completed in early 2007 (Petropars Website, accessed July 13, 2010).

Date: December 2006 – Ongoing

Deal: In December 2006, according to PDVSA's website, CVP created a joint venture company with Iranian Sadra Company subsidiary Sadra America Latina C.A. called Venezirian Oil Company. The company will develop offshore hydrocarbon exploration and production projects in Venezuela with technology and equipment made in Iran (PDVSA Website, December 21, 2006).

Date: January 2007 – Unknown

Deal: According to PDVSA's website, in January 2007, Iran and Venezuela signed 11 agreements regarding tourism, energy, education, taxes, and mining. "Among the agreements signed there stand out the Agreement to form an international Mixed Company for the purpose of developing, exploring, processing and producing oil, and a Service Agreement for the quantification of reserves in Blocks Ayacucho 3, 4 and 5 of the Orinoco Oil Belt" (PDVSA Website, January 13, 2007).

According to Petropars' website, studies began on blocks 3 and 4 in May 2007 and were completed in February 2008. The website does not list Ayacucho block 5 as one of the company's projects (Petropars Website, accessed July 13, 2010).

Date: April 2008 – Ongoing

Deal: According to an industry publication, Iran's oil ministry announced in April 2008 that NIOC and PDVSA would invest $400 million to form a joint venture to buy and/or charter oil tankers (APS Review Oil Market Trends, November 16, 2009).

On July 23, 2012, PDVSA conducted preliminary tests on an oil tanker built for it by the Iran Marine Industrial Company (Sadra), PressTV reported. PDVSA has commissioned Sadra to build three more tankers (PressTV, July 24, 2012).

According to Iran's Press TV, the Islamic Republic's first domestically manufactured Aframax tanker was completed in July 2013. It was set to be delivered shortly to Venezuela (PressTV, July 2, 2013).

Date: September 2009 – Ongoing

Deal: In April 2009, according to an industry publication, Caracas and Tehran signed a Memorandum of Understanding for the development of 17 oil fields in the South Pars region of Iran (Platts Oilgram News, April 7, 2009). In September, Press TV reported that President Hugo Chavez had announced that PDVSA would sign the deal and begin investing in Phase 12 of South Pars (PressTV (Iran), September 14, 2009). One week earlier, an industry publication reported that PDVSA would invest $760 million in South Pars phase 12 (Tenders Info, September 7, 2009).

According to the U.S. Government Accountability Office (GAO), PDVSA retains a 10 percent stake in the project (GAO Report, March 23, 2010).

In October 2010, PDVSA agreed to invest $800 million in the development of Phase 12 of Iran's South Pars gas field in October 2010, according to the Latin American Herald Tribune (Latin American Herald Tribune, October 25, 2010).

Date: September 2009 – Ongoing

Deal: In September 2009, Iran and Venezuela signed a series of Memorandums of Understanding, which, according to an industry publication, led to the creation of a joint venture between PDVSA and Iran's Petropars, the Venezuela Iran Oil and Gas Company (VENIROGC). In May 2010, Petropars announced that the venture's first project would be building an oil refinery in Syria. VENIROGC's directors are "also studying the feasibility of constructing crude oil storage facilities in China and Africa" (, June 6, 2010).

Date: September 2009 – Ongoing

Deal: According to an industry publication, on his trip to Tehran in September 2009, President Chavez signed a deal for Petropars to operate the Dubokubi block of the Orinoco gas belt in a joint venture with PDVSA (APS Review Oil Market Trends, November 16, 2009).

Petropars' website states that the company began a study of the field in May 2009, completed in October 2009, and that it is working with PDVSA subsidiary CVP. The deal will create a mixed company for the project and the entity will complete all its business activities in 2010. According to the website, "In case the development of Dobokubi is realized economically feasible, PPL [Petropars Ltd.] and CVP will incorporate a Mixed Company for development and operation purposes" (Petropars Website, accessed July 13, 2010).

It should be noted that at the same time this agreement was signed, in September 2009, Iran and Venezuela also signed a separate deal in which PDVSA would supply the National Iranian Oil Company (NIOC) with 20,000 barrels per day of gasoline in anticipation of U.S.-led sanctions against Iran, according to an industry publication (APS Review Oil Market Trends, November 16, 2009).

In May 2012, the Iranian press reported that Petropars Oil and Gas Company and PDVSA were preparing to sign a 25-year contract aiming to increase the production capacity of Dobokubi to 40,000-60,000 bpd from the current 15,000 bpd. In the contract, Iran is expected to invest $500-520 million (PressTV, May 29, 2012).

Date: October 2010 - Ongoing

Deal: According to the Latin American Herald Tribune, PDV Marina, PDVSA's shipping subsidiary signed an agreement with the Islamic Republic of Iran Shipping Line (IRISL) to create a joint maritime oil transport company. The new venture will help Venezuela sell crude oil to Europe and Asia (Latin American Herald Tribune, October 25, 2010).

U.S. Business Ties: PDVSA has a wholly-owned subsidiary in the U.S., PDV America, Inc., which owns CITGO, a major U.S.-based oil company headquartered in Houston, Texas, according to CITGO's website (CITGO Website, accessed July 20, 2010).

According to CITGO's website, PDVSA bought 50 percent of CITGO in 1986 and purchased the remaining half in 1990 (CITGO Website, accessed July 20, 2010).

CITGO, according to its website, has three gasoline refineries in the U.S. in Lake Charles, Louisiana; Corpus Christi, Texas; and Lemont, Illinois. These refineries "produce 117 million barrels of gasoline, 61 million barrels of distillates and 25 million barrels of jet fuel per year" (CITGO Website, accessed July 20, 2010).

Venezuela has also used CITGO to provide cheap heating oil to low-income houses in New York and Boston in 2005, according to the BBC. Some U.S. lawmakers criticized these deals as an attempt by Venezuela to embarrass the United States and undermine its foreign policy. (BBC, December 7, 2005).

According to a PDVSA press release, in 2006, the Venezuelan embassy signed a deal with the state of Maine for CITGO to supply heating oil to Native American groups at discounted prices (PDVSA Press Release, January 6, 2006).

In another PDVSA press release, in September 2008, CITGO confirmed that the U.S. Strategc Oil Reserve had ordered one million barrels of crude oil from its Lake Charles refinery "in an effort to mitigate the potential deficit of fuel in the US market" after a destructive hurricane season, which included Hurricanes Ike and Gustav (PDVSA Press Release, September 15, 2008).

According to, PDVSA has not received any federal contracts. However, CITGO Petroleum Corporation received nearly $292,976,867 in federal contracts between 2003 and 2007 (, accessed August 6, 2014).

Last Updated: August 6, 2014