An Iran-flagged supertanker on Saturday was about to set sail from Venezuelan waters carrying 2 million barrels of heavy crude provided by state-run oil firm PDVSA, according to documents seen by Reuters and vessel tracking services.
The shipment is part of a deal agreed by PDVSA and its counterpart National Iranian Oil Company (NIOC) that exchanges Iranian condensate for Venezuela’s Merey crude. The swaps aim to ease an acute shortage of diluents that has cut Venezuela’s oil output and exports, Reuters reported last month.
For the latest headlines, follow our Google News channel online or via the app.
Dino I, a very large crude carrier (VLCC) owned and operated by NIOC’s National Iranian Tanker Company (NITC), finished loading the Venezuelan oil at PDVSA’s Jose port late Friday, according to the documents, a source and monitoring service TankerTrackers.com.
The bilateral oil trade could be a breach of US sanctions on both countries, the US Treasury Department told Reuters last month, citing government orders that establish the punitive measures.
A Treasury spokesperson on Saturday declined to comment further on the latest development.
The vessel arrived in Venezuela in September with its transponder turned off while carrying 2.1 million barrels of Iranian condensate. The light oil fed PDVSA’s Petrolera Sinovensa, Petropiar, and Petrocedeno projects in the country’s Orinoco Belt.
A second condensate cargo of similar size is expected to be delivered to Venezuela in the coming weeks as part of the swap routine, which will be in effect for six months in its first phase.
Venezuela’s oil ministry, PDVSA and NIOC did not reply to requests for comment.
PDVSA first launched the exchange last month by sending 1.9 million barrels of Merey heavy crude on the Iran-flagged supertanker Felicity.
The exchange provides the OPEC nation with a stable supply of blending material needed to convert its extra heavy oil into exportable grades. The pact also delivers heavy oil to Iran for blending, refining, or marketing to Asian customers.
Iran and Venezuela have strengthened their cooperation in the last year even under the watchful gaze of the United States, which has in recent years reimposed sanctions on Iranian state entities, including NIOC, and in 2019 blacklisted PDVSA.
Under US sanctions, Iran and Venezuela strike oil export deal: SourcesVenezuela has agreed to a key contract to swap its heavy oil for Iranian condensate that it can use to improve the quality of its tar-like crude, with ... World News
US expresses concern over Iranian ship that may be headed for VenezuelaThe US is closely tracking an Iranian navy transport ship headed for the Caribbean -- possibly Venezuela -- and is prepared to take action against the ... World News
Iran sends warships to Atlantic amid Venezuela concernsAn Iranian destroyer and support vessel are now sailing in the Atlantic Ocean in a rare mission far from the Islamic Republic, Iran’s state TV ... Middle East
'Perfect trips': Venezuela ships jet fuel to Iran in exchange for gasolineVenezuela is shipping jet fuel to Iran in return for vital gasoline imports for the South American nation as part of a swap deal agreed by the two ... Energy
Tanker Forest delivers 44 mln liters of Iranian fuel to Venezuela: ReportA shipment of around 44 million liters of gasoline has secretly arrived at El Palito, Venezuela from Iran aboard handy size tanker Forest, according ... World News
Biggest Iranian flotilla en route to Venezuela with fuel, defying US sanctionsIran is sending its biggest fleet yet of tankers to Venezuela in defiance of US sanctions to help the isolated nation weather a crippling fuel ... Middle East
Iran-Venezuela alliance serves Iranian shadowy intentions, top religious leader warnsA top religious leader in Venezuela is warning the public about Iran’s increasing presence in his country, calling the alliance between the two ... Middle East