On May 7, the National Assembly, presided over by Juan Guaidó, granted powers to an ad hoc Board of Directors of oil company PDVSA to reach a decision concerning the 2020 bond interest payment of US$ 71 million that had been due on April 27. The bond is guaranteed by a 49% stake in the CITGO refinery complex, PDVSA’s main asset overseas. The company has a 30-day grace period after the April 27 deadline to make the payment.
The Board is chaired by Luis Pacheco, a former PDVSA’s executive, and includes Simón Antúnez, Gustavo Velásquez, Carlos José Balza, Ricardo Alfredo Prada, Claudio Martínez, León Miura, María Lizardo and Alejandro Grisanti. In April, the National Assembly authorized it to assume the responsibilities not only for PDVSA’s Board of Directors but also its Presidency and Shareholders’ Assembly. That vests it with the power to request third parties to make payments on its behalf to repay bonds issued by PDVSA. Day to day running, however, remains under the control of Nicolás Maduro’s government.
The bond payment was confirmed by the Board on May 16, and was financed, according to Grisanti, by drawing on uncollected oil revenues. The transaction required a license from the Office of Foreign Assets Control (OFAC) of the U.S. Treasury Department. This is the only bond that Venezuela has not defaulted on. On October 27, the company will face a new interest payment of US$ 913 million.