Another U.S. fine for Cuba before Obama leaves office

The National Oilwell Varco received a fine worth millions for two of its subsidiaries’ transactions with Cuba.

National Oilwell Varco has become the fourth company sanctioned by the Obama government for maintaining commercial ties with Cuba.

Another sanction worth millions of dollars against a multinational company that maintained relations with Cuba appeared as the farewell of Barack Obama’s term in office, after the measures to relax the economic blockade approved by the U.S. president a few weeks ago.

The Office for Foreign Assets Control (OFAC) of the Department of the Treasury last November 14 imposed a fine of almost six million dollars on the National Oilwell Varco (NOV) company and its subsidiaries NOV Elmar and Dreco Energy Services for maintaining commercial ties with Cuba.


The sanction, amounting to 5,976,028 dollars, almost doubled the total amount of NOV’s operations with the largest of the Caribbean islands. The OFAC punished Dreco Energy Services for participating in 45 transactions linked to the sale of products to Cuba worth 1,707,964 dollars from 2007 to 2009, while the other subsidiary, NOV Elmar, from 2007 to 2008 was involved in two transactions for the sale of goods and services to Havana worth 103,119 dollars.


The news cooled off the good mood that Obama’s Presidential Directive to relax the economic blockade on Cuba could have awoken in business sectors a few weeks ago.


The measures approved by the U.S. president in October widened the margin for personal purchases by U.S. citizens when traveling to Cuba for any one of the reasons that Washington grants licenses but not for tourism. They also opened options, more promising than effective for the time being, for the development of ties in sectors like the pharmaceutical and biotechnological industry.


NOV’s fine is the fourth imposed this year by the Obama administration on U.S. and foreign companies for violating restrictions of the economic blockade on Cuba.


Last January the OFAC sanctioned the U.S. WATG Holdings Inc. design company because its subsidiary in the United Kingdom, Wimberly Allison Tong and Goo, worked for a Qatari company in the design and architecture of a hotel project in Cuba, for which it received three payments. Afterwards it penalised the Halliburton oil company and the French CGG Services S.A. company.


Ever since the Obama government started on December 17, 2014 the process of normalisation of relations with Cuba, it has fined nine U.S. and foreign entities for an accumulated amount of close to three billion dollars. (2016)

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