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© Reuters. FILE PHOTO: Logo of Gazprombank is pictured at company’s stand in the course of St. Petersburg International Financial Forum 2016 in St. Petersburg

By Tatiana Voronova

MOSCOW (Reuters) – Gazprombank, Russia’s third most significant lender by assets, has sold its indirect stake in the Petrozamora joint venture in Venezuela, a supply at the bank mentioned on Thursday.

Gazprombank, in a written reply to Reuters inquiries, confirmed it had quit the Petrozamora joint venture, but gave no additional particulars. The venture’s majority owner, Venezuelan state oil firm PDVSA, is beneath U.S. sanctions. 

Gazprombank has a minority stake in a firm known as GPB International Sources which in turn owns 40 % of Petrozamora, according to the GPB International Sources web site.

PDVSA owns the remaining 60 % in Petrozamora, which was set up in 2012 initially to create two Venezuelan oil fields, the web site mentioned. The quantity of fields has considering that elevated.

“An indirect minority stake in Petrozamora JV was sold to a group of investors which have no connection to the Gazprombank group,” the supply in the bank mentioned. “As a outcome, Gazprombank now has no investment projects in Venezuela.”

The identity of the purchaser was unknown. The supply mentioned that Gazprombank has sold its stake in GPB GR as nicely. GBP GR did not promptly reply to a Reuters request for a comment.

In November 2013, Gazprombank, GPB GR, Petrozamora and PDVSA signed an oil prepayment facility of up to $1 billion to finance the investment plan and operational activity of Petrozamora JV. 

Russia is a key investor in Venezuela but this poses dangers to Russian organizations now that the United States has imposed sanctions on PDVSA and other entities linked to it. Some Russian firms are attempting to lower their exposure. 

Gazprombank decided to freeze the accounts of PDVSA and halted transactions with the firm, a Gazprombank supply told Reuters final month.

Russia’s second most significant bank, VTB, has begun procedures to hand more than its stake in a Russian-Venezuelan bank, Evrofinance Mosnarbank, to the Russian state home agency, sources familiar with the deal told Reuters this week.

The United States imposed difficult, new monetary sanctions on Jan. 28 aimed at blocking Venezuela’s President Nicolas Maduro’s access to the country’s oil income as its aimed to assistance Venezuelan opposition leader and self-proclaimed interim president Juan Guaido.

Russia’s Rosneft, the world’s prime listed oil corporation by output which has lent billions of U.S. dollars to Venezuela in the previous and has a quantity of upstream projects in the nation, continues its operations and to get oil from PDVSA.

According to lawyers and traders, the terms of the sanctions imply that Rosneft can continue its oil and oil item operations with PDVSA at least till April 28.

Nevertheless, U.S. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo this week accused Rosneft of delivering a monetary lifeline to the administration of Venezuelan President Nicolas Maduro, who Washington says is no longer the genuine head of state. 

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