Below is our translation of an article from News Rambler followed by a translation of another one, also from the News Rambler.
European representative office of PDVSA moving to Moscow
Venezuela moves office of US-sanctioned oil and gas company PDVSA from Lisbon to Moscow
March 1, 2019
Venezuelan President Nicolas Maduro decided to close the office of the national oil company PDVSA (Petroleros de Venezuela) in Lisbon and move the representative office to Moscow. Earlier, the United States imposed PDVSA sanctions with the aim of increasing pressure on Venezuelan President Nicolas Maduro to give up his post in favour of opposition leader Juan Guaidó.
"President Nicolas Maduro ordered the PDVSA office in Lisbon to close this office and move the office to Moscow," said Venezuelan executive vice president Delcy Rodriguez at a press conference following talks with Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov on Friday, reports TASS.
According to Rodriguez, "The West is excluding itself from the life of the world community, because now it is making attempts to sabotage the life of the international community. A number of countries, speaking from a position of respect for international law and strengthening bilateral relations, are fighting against this," the politician continued.
“Venezuela will take legal steps to guarantee our right to defence, litigation and return of our legitimate assets and legitimate interests in those countries where it is necessary,” Rodriguez emphasized.
The United States imposed sanctions against the Venezuelan state oil and gas company PDVSA on January 29. This was done with the aim of increasing pressure on Venezuelan President Nicolas Maduro to give up his post in favour of opposition leader Juan Guaidó, who declared himself the interim head of state and was immediately recognized by the United States and several other countries.
MOSCOW, March 1. / TASS /. The relocation of the European representative office of the Venezuelan PDVSA from Lisbon to Moscow is quite possible and technically easy, according to experts consulted by TASS. In addition, the sanction risks for Russia, although this political gesture of Venezuela, hardly carries, they note.
The briefing by the Executive Vice President of Venezuela, Delcy Rodriguez, after talks with Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov, ended today with a clear statement that the state-owned oil company PDVSA will transfer its office from Lisbon to Moscow.
“The word office here should be understood as simply moving the European representative office. This is not the company moving. The word office in English is not necessarily headquarters. It can also mean representative office,” said Sergey Pikin, director of the Energy Development Fund.
According to the expert, for Russian companies working with PDVSA, this also has its plus. “It will be easier for them to communicate because they will be in the same city. This is just for convenience of interaction. But on key issues, Caracas still retains representation on operational issues,” he noted.
Sergey Khestanov, associate professor at the Russian Presidential Academy of National Economy and Public Administration, also sees no obstacles to the relocation of the Lisbon office. “The event is unlikely to somehow affect the sanctions process, since oil supplies are subject to restrictions, and the relocation of the office does not affect this,” he said. At the same time, it is difficult to predict how the American and European authorities will react to this possible event, the expert added.
"A large Russian business is likely to be very careful in any statements and, even more, actions that directly or indirectly support the Venezuelan authorities. The probability of helping the Venezuelan authorities is not very high, but the chances of provoking additional sanctions, restrictions or any other hostile actions –are very, very real. Such an arangement will force our business to be very, very careful,” added Khestanov.
Finam analyst Alexei Kalachev recalled that Gazprombank had frozen PDVSA accounts. “Nobody wants to fall under additional sanctions. If they transfer the office, it will be an event,” he believes.
Since the Venezuelan company is a partner of large Russian companies, we can expect that the office will be looking for the same class, that is, A / B +, says Konstantin Losyukov, director of office real estate at Knight Frank.
“Theoretically, PDVSA can rent premises from their own Russian partners through their subsidiaries dealing with office real estate. However, it is difficult to assess the impact of the company's relocation on the Moscow office real estate market, since the scope of the request is not completely clear,” he concluded.