(Corrects first para to show Audit Chamber is not a Russian
parliamentary committee. Corrects para 6 to show that 2016
protocol was not part of the Audit Chamber report)
MOSCOW/CARACAS, June 6 Russia has slashed
projected revenue by nearly $1 billion to reflect expectations
that Venezuela may not make timely payments on bilateral loans,
according to a document released by Russia's Audit Chamber on
The OPEC member over the years borrowed heavily from
political allies including Russia and China, but is now
struggling to pay back creditors including bondholders on Wall
Street as its socialist economy collapses.
The issue is likely to draw attention in Washington, where
lawmakers have questioned Venezuelan state oil firm PDVSA's
use of a portion of its shares in U.S. subsidiary
Citgo as collateral for a loan from Russia because this could
leave Moscow with indirect control over U.S. energy
Russia's Audit Chamber, in a revision to the Russian state
budgets for 2017-19, said Venezuela had not fulfilled its
obligations under the Russia-Venezuela intergovernmental
protocol from September 2016. That agreement was an amendment to
a Russian loan granted in December 2011.
The Audit Chamber is responsible for checking domestic state
spending, and has published its review on the proposed changes
to the state budget for 2017 and further into 2018-19.
Venezuela owed Russia $2.84 billion as of September of that
year, including missed payments on the debt and interest,
according to the 2016 protocol, which was published separately
Details of the loans and the consequences for not paying
them on time were not immediately evident.
Venezuela's Oil Ministry and PDVSA did not immediately
respond to a request for comment.
Russia's oil major Rosneft has lent its Venezuelan
counterpart PDVSA between $4 billion and $5 billion in recent
years, according to Reuters calculations. The firm has been
gaining ground in Venezuela as the cash-strapped leftist
government scrambles for cash.
In its most recent quarterly financial statement, Rosneft
confirmed having provided $1.49 billion to PDVSA in 2016,
secured by oil supply contracts. Rosneft's CEO, Igor Sechin, in
May confirmed that the company received Citgo collateral.
PDVSA has also fallen months behind on shipments of crude
and fuels under oil-for-loan deals with Russia, as well as
China, according to internal company documents seen by Reuters.
Rosneft will get 70,000 barrels per day of Venezuelan oil
this year under the most recent loan deal, Venezuela's oil
minister Nelson Martinez said earlier this month, without
providing further details on the type or time frame of the loan.
($1 = 56.4661 rubles)
(Reporting by Katya Golubkova, additional reporting by Marianna
Parraga in Houston and Alexandra Ulmer in Caracas; Writing by
Brian Ellsworth; Editing by Andrew Hay)