Venezuela

Nearly Bankrupt Venezuela Picks Fight With Russia’s ‘Darth Vader’

Venezuela’s President Nicolas Maduro, left, listens as CEO of state-controlled Russian oil company Rosneft Igor Sechin speaks during a ceremony for naming a street after late Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez in Moscow, Russia, on Tuesday, July 2, 2013. (AP Photo/Ivan Sekretarev)

As if Venezuela doesn’t have enough problems, its National Assembly is now picking a fight with Russia’s most powerful oil man. Igor Sechin, known as Darth Vader in Russia, is the CEO of Rosneft and his company is now being roadblocked by legislators who question the legality of a 40% joint venture deal with a PdVSA subsidiary called Petromonagas. Sechin says the deal is legal. Venezuela, which can use all the money it can get, thinks otherwise.

On Thursday, the National Assembly took up issue over the proposed sale, telling the Russian embassy on Friday that it was annulling the $500 million deal with Rosneft. Petromnagas, formerly known as Cerro Negro, is one of four strategic oil projects undertaken by Venezuela in the Orinoco heavy oil basin. It produces around 170 thousand barrels per day and 40% of that, or 60 thousand barrels, belong to Rosneft.

The parliament decision was not based on the sale itself,…

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