Iranian supertanker loading 2m barrels of Venezuelan oil for export

A tanker chartered by the National Iranian Oil Company (NIOC) is loading Venezuelan crude for export as the two countries apply new tactics to expand their trade in defiance of US sanctions, a report says.

16 December 2020
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A tanker chartered by the National Iranian Oil Company (NIOC) is loading Venezuelan crude for export as the two countries apply new tactics to expand their trade in defiance of US sanctions, a report says.

Iranian oil supertanker, Horse.

A tanker chartered by the National Iranian Oil Company (NIOC) is loading Venezuelan crude for export as the two countries apply new tactics to expand their trade in defiance of US sanctions, a report says.

Venezuela and Iran have deepened their cooperation this year, exchanging gold and other commodities for food, condensate and fuel because the US sanctions do not allow them to use the dollar-dominated financial system.

According to documents from Venezuela’s state-run PDVSA, a very large crude carrier (VLCC) arrived at Venezuela’s main oil port of Jose last week to load 1.9 million barrels of heavy Merey 16 crude bound for Asia.

Iran sent a VLCC named the Horse to Venezuela in September. It delivered condensate, a very light form of oil, for PDVSA to blend with its very heavy oil to formulate exportable crude.

The tanker returned to Iran in October carrying Venezuelan heavy oil for NIOC, PDVSA’s schedules cited by Reuters showed.

In the run-up to leaving office in January, US President Donald Trump’s administration has tightened sanctions on Iran and Venezuela which are entrenched in their opposition to "American hegemony".

A handful of PDVSA’s customers that had been allowed to swap Venezuelan oil for fuel under US sanctions had their authorizations suspended in October. But Washington has not intercepted vessels that contribute to the Iran-Venezuela trade after Tehran’s warning of grave consequences. 

Smaller Iranian tankers have also delivered gasoline to Venezuela, making several voyages between the two countries since May.

Venezuela’s oil industry is hobbled by US sanctions which have thrown the country - owner of the world’s largest oil reserves - into its worst economic crisis in years. 

 

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