The Special Prosecutor of the Republic warned that after January 10th, 2019 no contract signed by private oil companies in the country with Nicolas Maduro’s regime is valid.
In a statement, the Special Prosecutor warned private and international investors that such agreements are unconstitutional and therefore outside the law, and could be face international legal actions.
In the document, he clarifies that the approval of the National Assembly is necessary, otherwise no agreement is valid for the Venezuelan State.
Full press release:
ON THE UNCONSTITUTIONALITY OF THE OIL CONTRACTS SIGNED BY NICOLAS MADURO’S REGIME AND THE INTERNATIONAL RESPONSIBILITY OF THE INVESTORS WHO ARE PARTIES TO THOSE CONTRACTS
All contracts that directly or indirectly transfer hydrocarbon exploration, exploitation and commercialization rights to private companies signed by Maduro’s regime will be unconstitutional and will not constitute valid commitments by the Venezuelan State. In addition, private companies that collaborate with Maduro’s regime incur responsibility, including also under international law.
In accordance with Articles 150, 302 and 303 of the Constitution, and Articles 9 and 22 of the Organic Law on Hydrocarbons, private companies may only participate in hydrocarbon exploration and exploitation activities within the framework of mixed company contracts previously authorized by the National Assembly. Maduro’s regime has been violating these norms by signing oil service contracts and modifying the operating conditions of mixed companies without the control of the National Assembly, as denounced by the National Assembly in Agreements of April 18th, 2017 and January 8th, 2019.
In any event, after January 10th, 2019, Nicolas Maduro, and those who usurp the Presidency of the Republic and other entities of the Executive, cannot validly enter into any type of contract.
After the military takeover of the Federal Legislative Palace by allies of Maduro’s regime, some media have pointed out that private companies could sign oil contracts with the alleged authorization of those who participated in that military takeover to impose an illegitimate Board of Directors. Likewise, other media reflect that Maduro would have entrusted minority partners of mixed companies with the commercialization of Venezuelan crude oil.
All of these contracts, if they exist, would be null and void, since they seek to transfer exploration, exploitation and commercialization rights to private companies as a result of the usurpation of the Presidency of the Republic and outside of the controls that correspond to the National Assembly in accordance with the Constitution and the Organic Law on Hydrocarbons. Therefore, none of these contracts will be a validly acquired commitment of the Venezuelan State.
Furthermore, the private companies that participate in these unconstitutional contracts, including the minority partners of the mixed companies, will be responsible for the violation of the Constitution, especially for supporting Maduro’s regime which, in addition to being illegitimate, systematically violates human rights. Therefore, such responsibility could be claimed even in international law to demand compensation for the support given to Nicolas Maduro’s regime and to facilitate the violation of human rights.