Patton Boggs is repping Citgo Petroleum, a unit of Venezuela’s national oil company, on the potential impact of U.S. energy policy matters on its operation.

Relations between the US and Venezuela, a major exporter of oil to the US, have soured to the point at which the House Committee on Foreign Affairs voted this month to slap sanctions on officials responsible for alleged human rights abuses by members of president Nicolas Maduro’s government responsible for the crackdown on political protesters.

The acolyte of the decease Hugo Chavez also has been rapped by mostly Republicans for continuing his country’s cozy relationship with Cuba.

Chavez often used Petroleos de Venezuela, Citgo’s owner, to advance his political fortunes at home and abroad.

PB chief Tommy Boggs spearheads Citgo’s team. The DC lobbying powerhouse recently ended a misadventure in the oil patch, agreeing to pay Chevron $15M to settle a long-running legal squabble concerning environmental degradation Ecuador.

Citgo, which in 2007 was the first US refinery criminally charged with violating the Clean Air Act, ended that saga this month with a fine of $2M.

Corpus Christi neighbors of the targeted facility dismissed that award as chump change for Citgo, which reportedly earned $1B from the illegal operation.