Houston firm ponders Venezuela fund

Houston firm ponders Venezuela fund

M&A Energy Gas Politics Economy & Policy

Tudor, Pickering, Holt & Co, an energy investor and investment bank based in Houston, could raise a fund to invest in Venezuelan oil assets, LatinFinance has confirmed.

"This is in a very early phase and would be timed for a government transition," said a company official.

CEO Maynard Holt reportedly said this week at the CERAWeek 2019 energy conference that his firm could form a $1bn-$3bn fund for Venezuela's oil industry.

Raising such a fund, however, is only a good idea if President Nicolás Maduro leaves office and the US government lifts sanctions on Venezuelan oil assets, a ratings analyst said.

"Doing this right now would be very difficult because of the sanctions, but if there is a change of government, there would be a lot of upside," the analyst said.

"One of the things a new government would do after stabilizing the economy would be getting investment into the oil sector because [the state-owned oil company] PDVSA doesn't have the capacity to carry out required investments."

While some observers say Maduro's days are numbered, the analyst cautioned that betting that opposition leader Juan Guaidó will soon become president may be premature.

"Just because there are sanctions and a difficult economic environment, it doesn't mean that Maduro can't survive for a longer time, especially if he gets support form China and Russia."

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