HOUSTON / CARACAS, 16 October. (Reuters) – An Iranian-flagged supertanker was about to emerge from Venezuelan waters on Saturday with 2 million barrels of heavy oil provided by state oil company PDVSA (PDVSA.UL), according to documents seen. Reuters and ship tracking services.
The shipment is part of a deal negotiated between PDVSA and its partner, the National Iranian Oil Company (NIOC), which swaps Iranian condensate for Venezuelan Merey crude. The swaps are designed to alleviate an acute thinner shortage that has led to a cut in Venezuela’s oil production and exports, Reuters reported last month. More details
Dino I, a very large oil tanker (VLCC) owned and operated by the National Iranian Tanker Company NIOC (NITC), completed the loading of Venezuelan oil at the port of Jose PDVSA late Friday night, according to documents, source and monitoring service TankerTrackers.com said.
Bilateral oil trade could be a violation of US sanctions on both countries, the US Treasury Department told Reuters last month, citing government regulations establishing punitive measures.
The vessel arrived in Venezuela in September with the transponder turned off and was carrying 2.1 million barrels of Iranian condensate. Light oil has been used in the PDVSA projects Petrolera Sinovensa, Petropiar and Petrocedeno in the Orinoco belt in the country. More details
A second shipment of condensate of a similar size is expected to be delivered to Venezuela in the coming weeks as part of an exchange program that will run for six months in the first phase.
Venezuela’s oil ministry, PDVSA and NIOC did not respond to requests for comment.
PDVSA first launched the swap last month, shipping 1.9 million barrels of Merey heavy oil to the Iranian-flagged Felicity supertanker.
The exchange provides the OPEC country with a stable supply of the blended material needed to convert its super-heavy oil into export grades. The pact also supplies heavy oil to Iran for blending, refining or marketing to Asian consumers.
Iran and Venezuela have strengthened their cooperation last year even under the scrutiny of the United States, which in recent years has re-imposed sanctions on Iranian government structures, including the NIOC, and blacklisted the PDVSA in 2019.
Reporting by Marianna Parraga in Houston and Daisy Buitrago in Caracas; Edited by Gary McWilliams and Andrea Ricci
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