Who Benefits from OFAC’s Chevron License?

In recent days, the US government authorized Chevron Corporation to resell Venezuelan oil in US markets but barred it from making tax and royalty payments to the Venezuelan state. We argue that the restriction on these payments is symbolic because fiscal liabilities are incurred not by Chevron but by the joint ventures in which Chevron is a minority partner and whose decisions it is unable to control. Furthermore, we show that as long as regaining access to US markets enables Chevron joint ventures to increase production levels, the Maduro government will receive additional hard currency revenue flows which it can use at will. This result holds regardless of whether incremental revenues are used to reduce PDVSA’s debt arrears with Chevron.