Russia’s largest oil producer, Rosneft, has announced that it is halting operations in Venezuela and selling its assets there to a company fully owned by the Russian government.
Rosneft said in a statement on March 28 that it “concluded an agreement with the company 100 percent owned by the government of the Russian Federation, to sell all of its interest and cease participation in its Venezuelan businesses," including multiple joint ventures, oil-field services companies, and other activities.
The move appeared to be aimed at protecting Rosneft from U.S. sanctions while Russia continues supporting Venezuelan President Nicolas Maduro.
The United States has imposed sanctions on two Rosneft subsidiaries, including a company based in Geneva that sells crude oil to European customers.
Rosneft spokesman Mikhail Leontyev was quoted by Russian news agencies as saying that the company expects the United States to now waive sanctions against its subsidiaries.
He said the decision was aimed at "protecting the interests of our shareholders."
Rosneft is led by Russian President Vladimir Putin's longtime associate Igor Sechin.