An oil company controlled by the Venezuelan government has made its first delivery of cut-price heating oil to the Bronx borough of New York City.
Venezuela denied a political move behind the deal
The firm, Citgo, is supplying fuel to thousands of people in deprived areas in co-operation with charities.
The initiative started last month with the delivery of heating oil to Boston.
It was announced in August by Venezuela's President Hugo Chavez - a vocal critic of President George Bush.
Under the deal, Citgo said it would provide heating oil at a 40% discount to fill in tanks at properties owned by three non-profit housing corporations in the Bronx.
About 8,000 tenants from 75 buildings will benefit from the project, according to the company and the corporations.
Deliveries will continue through the winter months until 1 April.
In October, 12 Democratic US senators, including Hillary Rodham Clinton, urged chief executives of major oil companies to help with fuel assistance programmes run by the government.
It was signed by three Bronx non-profit housing corporations and Citgo, the US-based subsidiary of the state owned company Petroleos de Venezuela (PDVSA)
The firm will provide heating oil at a 40% discount
Deliveries will continue until 1 April
The senators said that the only company to respond was Citgo, the US-based subsidiary of Petroleos de Venezuela (PDVSA) and the country's fourth-largest gasoline retailer.
Some critics within the US say there is a political move behind the project, claiming it is designed by Venezuela to "embarrass" US oil firms and the Bush administration.
But the Venezuelan ambassador, Bernardo Alvarez, denied this.
Mr Alvarez and US Democrat representative Jose Serrano, of the Bronx, attended a ceremony to celebrate the first delivery to New York.
They said the deal was the "human face" of the energy supply between the US and Venezuela.
Venezuela's left-leaning government, which has been benefiting from high crude prices, is already providing cut-rate oil across Latin America.
The South American country is the world's fifth largest petroleum exporter, and the US gets 15% of its oil from Venezuela.