MOSCOW — Russian Deputy Prime Minister Alexander Novak is visiting Venezuela this week and will meet Venezuelan oil minister Tareck El Aissami in Caracas, Novak’s spokesperson said on Wednesday.
Novak, in charge of Moscow ties with the Organization of the Petroleum Exporting Countries (OPEC), will take part in an inter-governmental commission, which is held regularly, the spokesperson said.
Venezuela holds the world’s largest reserves of oil and is a member of the OPEC group of leading global oil producers while President Nicolas Maduro is an ally of Kremlin chief Vladimir Putin.
Europe introduced an embargo on purchases of seaborne Russian oil starting this month, trying to cripple Moscow’s military efforts in Ukraine.
The United States imposed its own ban on Russia-sourced oil in March, while Moscow has increased its energy supplies, a key source of revenues for its state coffers, to Asia.
Venezuela has been under U.S. oil restrictions for years, but in November, the U.S. Treasury Department issued a license to Chevron to expand operations in Venezuela, part of Washington’s moves to encourage talks between Maduro and the opposition toward an election in 2023.
Chevron Chief Executive Officer Michael Wirth has said the world was adjusting to permanently changing trade flows in energy because of Russia’s military campaign in Ukraine. (Reporting by Olesya Astakhova; Writing by Vladimir Soldatkin; Editing by Lisa Shumaker)