Venezuelan congress criticises oil deals with the US and France

Venezuelan congress criticises oil deals with the US and France

Venezuela’s opposition-run congress has hit out against deals between the country’s state-run PDVSA and US and French companies, describing them as illegal as they had not gained lawmakers approval.

Members of the opposition said deals for oilfields between the government and France’s Maurel & Prom and US based Erepla violated article 150 of the Venezuelan constitution, which states that contracts between the state of foreign companies must be approved by the country’s congress.

The National Assembly, as Venezuela’s congress is known, has had a significant amount of its powers cut since the opposition took it over in 2016 and is unlikely to be able to block the progress of the deals, but could create legal complications in the future.

The deals come as President Maduro looks to reverse the state of the country’s deteriorating oil industry that has had a crippling effect on the economy.

Erepla will invest $500 million in three Venezuelan fields, while Maurel & Prom will put up $400 million for a 40% of an oilfield joint venture.

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