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Crude Oil July 09, 2019 12:30:13 AM

Squeezed by Sanctions, Venezuela Sells Oil to Tiny Turkish Firm

Anil
Mathews
OilMonster Author
But U.S. sanctions imposed in January in an effort to oust Maduro have driven away many of those customers.
Squeezed by Sanctions, Venezuela Sells Oil to Tiny Turkish Firm

OILMONSTER.COM- With U.S. sanctions blocking Venezuela from selling oil to the United States, state-owned energy firm PDVSA has turned to several little-known buyers that include a tiny Turkish company with no refineries but ties to President Nicolas Maduro’s government, according to internal documents and a PDVSA source.

Until recently, some of the world’s largest petroleum and refining firms, including U.S. companies Chevron and Valero Energy, lined up to take Venezuelan oil cargoes and PDVSA had a rigorous vetting process to ensure potential buyers had the capacity to pay.

But U.S. sanctions imposed in January in an effort to oust Maduro have driven away many of those customers. PDVSA’s exports have slumped by more than a fifth since sanctions were imposed, according to company records and Refinitiv Eikon data. Its biggest buyers today are Chinese and Indian companies.

Three sources with knowledge of the matter told Reuters that directors at a March 14 meeting of PDVSA’s board temporarily waived some requirements for new customers or suppliers, including that of having at least two years’ experience in the oil industry.

Neither PDVSA nor Venezuela’s oil ministry responded to requests for comment for this story.

In the wake of the changes, a Turkish company called Grupo Iveex Insaat started buying Venezuelan oil in April, according to documents related to PDVSA loading plans and internal reports on exports and imports for the first half of the year reviewed by Reuters.

Istanbul Chamber of Commerce records show that Iveex Insaat was formed less than a year ago with capital of just 10,000 lira ($1,775) and listed “residential construction” as its main activity.

It was one of only five firms that loaded tankers to take Venezuela’s upgraded crude - among its most valuable oil - from April through June, the documents showed. Iveex loaded four cargoes of Venezuelan crude and products in April - equivalent to just under 8 percent of Venezuela’s oil exports - and nothing in May or June, according to PDVSA documents.

Turkish corporate records show Iveex Insaat is owned by Miguel Silva, a Venezuelan businessman who heads the Caracas-based Venezuelan Exporters’ Chamber and also served as a housing ministry commissioner in Maduro’s administration.

Reuters was unable to determine the terms under which Iveex Insaat is receiving Venezuelan oil and was unable to confirm who would ultimately buy and refine the crude, as the company has no refineries.

Neither Iveex Insaat nor Silva responded to requests for comment.

Courtesy: www.reuters.com

 

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