Russia establishes a new oil company on the day of Rosneft's departure from Venezuela

On March 28, when it became known that Russian oil giant Rosneft was terminating its operations in Venezuela, Russia’s Federal Agency for State Property Management, Rosimushchestvo, has established a new company, Roszarubezhneft, which will, in particular, be engaged in the production and transportation of oil and oil associated gas.

Interfax reports with reference to Russian Single Register of Legal Entities that the company's share capital is 322.7 billion rubles ($4.05 billion USD). It is wholly owned by Rosimushchestvo. The holder of the Roszarubezhneft’s shareholder register is Register-RN LLC, which is also the holder of Rosneft's shareholder register.

The company is registered in Moscow, its CEO is Nikolay Rybchuk. A person with the same name is a member of the Angola Veterans Council, a former military attaché and a representative of the Russian Federal Service for Military and Technical Cooperation. Igor Sechin, the head of Rosneft, served in Angola in the mid-1980s.

A Rosneft spokesman did not comment on the news of Roszarubezhneft's appearance.

It became known on March 28 that Rosneft is terminating its operations in Venezuela and is selling all its assets in the country. Rosneft said in a statement that it had entered into an agreement with a company 100% owned by the Russian government to sell shares and cease its participation in all projects in Venezuela, including stakes in Petromonagas, Petroperija , Boqueron, Petromiranda and Petrovictoria, in oilfield services and trading operations.

The press service of the Russian government confirmed the acquisition of the company's Venezuelan assets from Rosneft. "The owner was a company 100% owned by the Russian Federation," the statement said. At the same time, neither the government nor Rosneft disclosed the name of the company-buyer of these assets.

Rosneft spokesman Mikhail Leontiev said that the sale of assets and withdrawal from Venezuela was in an attempt to lift the U.S. sanctions against the company's subsidiaries. "We sold our Venezuelan business to the government of the Russian Federation. Rosneft, as an international public company, must protect the interests of its shareholders. And now we have the right to expect that the American regulator would fulfill publicly made promises," he said.

At the end of February, the United States added Rosneft Trading SA, the Swiss subsidiary of Rosneft, and its chairman Didier Casimiro to the sanctions list for "material assistance" to the Venezuelan oil company PDVSA. Washington has repeatedly accused Rosneft and its subsidiaries of supplying Venezuelan oil to foreign markets.

As reported by Reuters, Rosneft helped the Venezuelan authorities circumvent U.S. sanctions prohibiting the sale of oil. According to the news agency, a special scheme was developed for this, according to which the Venezuelan company PDVSA billed Rosneft for oil at significantly reduced prices. The Russian company then sold oil to final buyers for the full cost. One of the largest buyers of Venezuelan oil, the Indian company Reliance Industries, was involved in this scheme.

Funds received from the sale of Venezuelan oil were transferred to accounts in Russian banks and used by Maduro's government.

  Rosneft, Venezuela, Maduro

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