HOUSTON / CARACAS, Sept.27 (Reuters) – A 2.1 million barrel shipment of condensate provided by the Iranian National Oil Company (NIOC) to Venezuelan company PDVSA, the first in an exchange deal between state-owned companies , began to be unloaded this week, according to two sources and to the tracking data of the tankers.
PDVSA and NIOC have agreed on a medium-term deal to swap Venezuelan heavy crude for Iranian condensate in a pact to boost the South American nation’s declining oil exports, amid sanctions imposed by the United States. Read more
The agreement is expected to regulate the flow of blending materials to produce exportable crude grades from Venezuela’s main oil region, the Orinoco Belt.
The condensate shipment arrived in Venezuelan waters at the end of last week on the Iranian-flagged very large crude carrier (VLCC) Dino I, owned and operated by a NIOC unit, the sources and the service said. vessel monitoring TankerTrackers.com.
On Monday, the vessel was unloading at PDVSA’s main oil port, Terminal Jose, TankerTrackers.com said, even though its transponder showed it on the Iranian coast – a tactic often used by sanctioned oil producers to conceal the location of their fleets.
PDVSA and NIOC did not respond to Reuters questions about the swap deal.
A second 2.1 million barrel condensate shipment, contracted under the same swap deal, is expected to arrive in Venezuelan waters in the coming weeks, the sources said.
The Iranian-flagged tanker Dorena, whose transponder also shows it in Iranian waters, is currently en route to Venezuela, TankerTrackers.com said.
The US Treasury Department told Reuters last week it was “concerned about reports of Iranian transactions with Venezuela involving oil and petroleum products,” although it has not verified details.
“We will continue to apply our sanctions authorities linked to Iran and Venezuela,” a Treasury spokesperson told Reuters in a written response on Friday.
A source in Washington with knowledge of the trade told Reuters that US officials are monitoring Iranian shipments as they could help provide Venezuelan President Nicolas Maduro with a financial lifeline as he negotiates with the Venezuelan opposition over regional elections and local expected in November.
The swap deal officially began last week when a shipment of 1.9 million barrels of Venezuelan heavy crude left Venezuelan waters aboard Iranian tanker Felicity, according to sources familiar with the deal.
US-sanctioned Venezuela and Iran have stepped up cooperation since last year. Their two state-run oil companies are banned by the US Treasury Department and may also be subject to secondary sanctions limiting doing business with non-US companies.
Iran provided food, medicine and gasoline to Venezuela and equipment to repair depleted PDVSA refineries, while Venezuela paid Iranian companies with jet fuel, heavy crude and other products. that it produces. Read more
An Iranian-flagged freighter, the Golsan, which last year delivered food to Venezuela and returned with alumina, unloaded in late August at the Venezuelan port of La Guaira and is now en route to Iran carrying an undisclosed cargo, according to data from Refinitiv Eikon.
Reporting by Marianna Parraga in Houston and Deisy Buitrago in Caracas; edited by Grant McCool
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