Amid the tightening noose of US sanctions, Venezuela’s state oil company PDVSA is reportedly moving bank accounts of its joint ventures with foreign companies to Russia’s Gazprombank, Reuters reports, citing documents and sources.

Customers of PDVSA’s joint ventures with US-based Chevron Corp, France’s Total SA, Norway’s Equinor and other projects with foreign companies have reportedly been instructed to deposit their payments into Russia-based bank accounts following the latest crippling round of Washington’s sanctions, Reuters reports.

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Imposed on January 28, the fresh round of sanctions are aimed at cutting the government of Nicholas Maduro off from oil proceeds, after Washington recognized the self-proclaimed ‘interim’ president Juan Guaido and claimed that Venezuela’s state funds and profits should be controlled by the ‘legitimate government.’

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The state oil giant has also been urging its foreign partners to make formal decisions on whether they want to bow to US pressure and bail out or preserve stakes in the joint projects and continue their business in Venezuela, the agency reports. Besides dozens of joint ventures with Western companies, PDVSA also has many projects with Russian companies and Chinese investors, who, according to some assessments, might lose the most from US economic pressure on the Latin American country.

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In addition to $7 billion of the assets of PDVSA –and of its US subsidiary Citgo– that Washington seized “on behalf of Venezuelan people,” the US expects its sanctions to affect some $11bn-worth of the country’s exports in 2019. Venezuela is home to the world’s largest oil reserves, and oil sales account for 98 percent of export earnings and as much as 50 percent of its GDP.

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