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OilMonster

Crude Oil August 23, 2019 12:30:41 AM

Rosneft Becomes Top Venezuelan Oil Trader, Helping Offset U.S. Pressure

Anil
Mathews
OilMonster Author
Oil accounts for more than 95 percent of Venezuela’s export revenue and Washington has warned trading houses and other buyers about possible sanctions if they prop up Caracas.
Rosneft Becomes Top Venezuelan Oil Trader, Helping Offset U.S. Pressure

OILMONSTER.COM- Russian state oil major Rosneft has become the main trader of Venezuelan crude, shipping oil to buyers in China and India and helping Caracas offset the loss of traditional dealers who are avoiding it for fear of breaching U.S. sanctions.

Trading sources and Refinitiv Eikon data showed Rosneft became the biggest buyer of Venezuelan crude in July and the first half of August.

It took 40% of state oil company PDVSA’s exports in July and 66% so far in August, according to the firm’s export programs and the Refinitiv Eikon data, double the purchases before sanctions.

Three industry sources said Rosneft, which produces around five percent of the world’s oil, is now taking care of shipping and marketing operations for the bulk of Venezuelan oil exports, ensuring that PDVSA can continue to supply buyers.

Rosneft used to resell volumes it bought from PDVSA to trading firms and was less involved in marketing.

Now it has started supplying some PDVSA clients - Chinese and Indian refineries - while trading houses such as Swiss-based Trafigura and Vitol have walked away because they fear they could breach secondary U.S. sanctions, according to six trade sources.

Trafigura and Vitol declined to comment.

Rosneft and PDVSA did not respond to requests for comment.

Oil accounts for more than 95 percent of Venezuela’s export revenue and Washington has warned trading houses and other buyers about possible sanctions if they prop up Caracas.

The United States and some Western governments have recognized Venezuelan opposition leader Juan Guaido as the country’s rightful head of state and are seeking to oust the current socialist President Nicolas Maduro.

A State Department spokesman said the United States “has put foreign institutions on notice that they will face sanctions for being involved in facilitating illegitimate transactions that benefit ... Maduro and his corrupt network.

“We will continue to use the full weight of U.S. economic and diplomatic power to complete the peaceful transition to a once-again free, prosperous and stable Venezuela.”

Moscow is one of Maduro’s closest allies and has provided military support to his government as well as billions of dollars in loans and equipment.

“Rosneft has been dealing with Venezuela’s crude directly, fixing vessels and offering it to end users”, a source with an oil trading firm said.

Rosneft is not in breach of U.S. sanctions, because it takes oil as part of debt servicing agreements after lending Caracas money in previous years.

PDVSA lowered its outstanding debt to Rosneft to $1.1 billion by the end of the second quarter this year from $1.8 billion at the end of the first, the Russian company said on Wednesday.

The sources said most deals between the two do not involve cash. Those that do are processed in euros rather than in U.S. dollars to cover Venezuela’s debt to Rosneft.

Russia and China have called U.S. sanctions against Venezuela unilateral and illegal.

Last week, Washington imposed new sanctions on Venezuela, threatening to take measures against any firm “materially assisting” Maduro’s government.

 Courtesy: www.reuters.com

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