Venezuela News

07 Jan 2021

Iranian Ship Arrives at Venezuelan Port

© Amir Programmer /

An Iranian ship arrived at the Venezuelan port of La Guaira on Thursday, according to Refinitiv Eikon data, in what appeared to be a continuation of the commercial alliance between the two countries targeted by U.S. sanctions.Iran has been supplying gasoline to ease fuel shortages in Venezuela caused by decay of the South American nation's refineries and worsened by sanctions. It has also shipped food to help the government of President Nicolas Maduro.The Iranian-flagged general cargo ship Golsan…

06 Jan 2021

Indian Oil Corp Buys its First Cargo of Iraqi Basra Medium Oil

Minerva Kalypso - Photo by Maksym Mikhelson/

Indian Oil Corp (IOC) , the country's top refiner, has loaded its first cargo of Iraq's newly introduced Basra Medium crude grade, according to ship-tracking data from Refinitiv Eikon and a source with knowledge of the matter.IOC loaded the cargo onto Minerva Kalypso, a Suezmax-sized vessel, which left Iraq's southern port of Basra on Jan. 4, the data showed.The ship is expected to arrive at Chennai port in southeastern India for IOC's subsidiary Chennai Petroleum Corp (CPCL) around Jan.

04 Jan 2021

Venezuela's Oil Exports Plunge to 1940's Level Under Tighter U.S. Sanctions

Illustration by  Maksym Yemelyanov/AdobeStock

Pressured by strict U.S. sanctions, Venezuela's oil exports plunged by 376,500 barrels per day (bpd) in 2020, according to Refinitiv Eikon data and internal documents from state-run PDVSA, financially squeezing socialist President Nicolas Maduro.The administration of U.S. President Donald Trump also put curbs on PDVSA's main trading partners, the owners of tankers still transporting Venezuelan oil and on fuel supply to the gasoline-thirsty nation.The punishment, aimed to oust Maduro after his 2018 re-election was called a sham by most Western nations…

29 Dec 2020

UAE Emerges as Hub for Companies Helping Venezuela Avoid US Oil Sanctions

© Pak Agen /

In June, the United States imposed sanctions on half a dozen oil tankers managed by established shipping firms. It was a major escalation of American attempts to choke off Venezuela’s oil trade.Within weeks, a little-known company based in the United Arab Emirates took over management of several tankers that had been shipping Venezuelan oil. The vessels got new names. And then they resumed transporting Venezuelan crude.The company, Muhit Maritime FZE, is one of three UAE-based entities identified by Reuters that have shipped Venezuelan crude and fuel during the second half of this year.

16 Dec 2020

Venezuela: PDVSA Starts Oil Transfer from Troubled Offshore Facility to Barge

The FSO Nabarima listing in the Gulf of Paria on October 16 (Photo: Fishermen and Friends of the Sea)

Venezuelan state oil company Petroleos de Venezuela has begun transferring crude off of an offshore oil facility where governments in two neighboring countries have voiced concerns about a potential spill, two people familiar with the matter said on Tuesday.The company this week began the first of several transfers from the Nabarima floating storage and offloading facility (FSO), anchored in the Corocoro oilfield off Venezuela's eastern coast, onto the Inmaculada barge, said the people…

14 Dec 2020

Iran Uses Disguised Tanker to Export Venezuelan Oil

© Radek Pachecki /

A tanker chartered by the National Iranian Oil Company (NIOC) is loading Venezuelan crude for export, documents from state-run PDVSA show, providing evidence of the two countries’ latest tactics to expand their trade in defiance of U.S. sanctions.Venezuela and Iran have deepened their cooperation this year as Venezuela has exchanged gold and other commodities for Iranian food, condensate and fuel.Names of scrapped vessels are being used by several PDVSA (Petroleos de Venezuela…

14 Dec 2020

Fourteen Migrants Found Dead Off Venezuela Coast

Illustration: Migrant boat - Credit:Naeblys

Fourteen people believed to have traveled from Venezuela to Trinidad and Tobago were found dead in waters near the South American nation's coast, Venezuelan authorities said on Sunday, hours after Trinidad and Tobago confirmed the first bodies being found.At least 40,000 Venezuelans live in Trinidad and Tobago, the majority fleeing their country's economic crisis, unemployment, and lack of basic public services, often traveling in small rickety boats above their capacity, with limited supplies of fuel and food.Last year…

27 Nov 2020

Report: Venezuela Resumes Oil Shipments to China Despite U.S. Sanctions

Kyoto - Credit:smp/MarineTraffic

Venezuela has resumed direct shipments of oil to China after U.S. sanctions sent the trade underground for more than a year, according to Refinitiv Eikon vessel-tracking data and internal documents from state company Petroleos de Venezuela (PDVSA).Chinese state companies China National Petroleum Corp (CNPC) and PetroChina - long among PDVSA's top customers - stopped loading crude and fuel at Venezuelan ports in August 2019 after Washington extended its sanctions on PDVSA to include…

11 Nov 2020

Slew of Tankers Sail Toward Venezuela, Suggesting Oil Export Rebound

© Tony Hogwood /

At least 18 oil tankers are expected to load oil for export from Venezuela in the coming weeks, according to tracking data and internal documents from state-run PDVSA, in a sign the sanctioned OPEC nation's crude exports may rebound this month.Venezuela's oil exports fell to their lowest levels since the 1940s in October, as some of Petroleos de Venezuela's last remaining clients halted trade with the company ahead of a deadline imposed by the United States.Washington sanctioned…

10 Nov 2020

Phantom Buyers in Russia, Advice from Iran Help Venezuela Skirt Sanctions

Oil tanker Elisabeth Knutsen, later relabeled as Knut and one of several misidentified tankers hired by phantom companies to export oil from Venezuela, is seen anchored off Las Palmas, near the Canary Islands, before departing to Venezuela's Jose terminal, operated by state-run PDVSA, Spain September 27, 2020. (© Vin Moore /

On Aug. 21, a tanker called the Otoman docked at the Jose oil terminal on Venezuela’s coast in the Caribbean to load 1.82 million barrels of heavy crude, according to the state oil company’s internal documents.Yet no tanker with that name is registered in major global shipping databases.Muddying the situation further, the unique identifier for the Otoman listed in the documents - a number used by the International Maritime Organization to identify ships - was assigned to another tanker called the Rubyni, according to the databases.The Rubyni was broken up two years ago, they record.

05 Nov 2020

Fire-stricken Venezuelan Oil Tanker Undergoes Repairs in Cuba

© Alberto Ramirez /

An oil tanker owned by Venezuelan state oil company Petroleos de Venezuela's maritime division is undergoing repairs in Cuba after suffering a fire while discharging last week, four people familiar with the matter said this week.The Aframax-sized vessel Teseo had set sail from Venezuela's Cardon port with about 500,000 barrels of fuel oil for power generation on October 20, destined for Cuba's Felton port, according to an internal PDVSA document and Refinitiv Eikon ship tracking…

03 Nov 2020

U.S. Tells Eni Repairs to Venezuela Floating Oil Facility Not Barred by Sanctions

The FSO Nabarima listing in the Gulf of Paria on October 16 (Photo: Fishermen and Friends of the Sea)

The United States has assured Italian oil company Eni SpA that efforts to prevent a spill at a floating crude facility in Venezuela would not run afoul of sanctions, the company, and the U.S. State Department said on Monday.Images in recent months showing the Nabarima floating storage and offloading facility (FSO), part of the Petrosucre joint venture between Eni and Venezuela's state oil company Petroleos de Venezuela, tilting to its side have raised concerns of a potential environmental…

02 Nov 2020

Venezuela's Oil Exports Fall to New Low

© Francis / Adobe Stock

Venezuela's oil exports fell to a historic low of 359,000 barrels per day (bpd) in October as most of state-run PDVSA's long-term clients paused trade to meet a U.S. deadline to halt business with the firm, according to data seen by Reuters on Monday.The United States set an October-November deadline for PDVSA's long-term customers - including Italy Eni, Spain's Repsol and India's Reliance Industries - to stop oil swaps it had authorized this year as exceptions to sanctions on Venezuela.None of those companies loaded cargoes of Venezuelan crude in October…

02 Nov 2020

US Sanctions: Spotlight on Russia

© Mikhail Perfilov / Adobe Stock

This article will focus on U.S. sanctions on Russia/Ukraine. The Russia/Ukraine sanctions program is a complex mix of comprehensive, noncomprehensive and “sectoral” sanctions. It includes both primary sanctions aimed at U.S. persons and secondary sanctions aimed at non-U.S. persons. It encompasses broad sectors of the Russian economy and significant dealings with sanctioned individuals and entities, while generally permitting most transactions with Russia. Accordingly, it stands alone in U.S.

02 Nov 2020

IMO SG Emeritus William O’Neil Passes Away

William O’Neil was Secretary-General of IMO from 1990 to 2003. (Photo: IMO)

William A. O’Neil, Secretary-General Emeritus of the International Maritime Organization (IMO), has died in the United Kingdom, aged 93.O’Neil was elected Secretary-General of the IMO for a first term of Office beginning in 1990, a second term beginning in 1994, a third term beginning in 1998 and a further two-year term from 2002 to 31 December 2003. He was the second longest serving Secretary-General of IMO.Current IMO Secretary-General Kitack Lim expressed his sincere condolences to the Canadian Government…

30 Oct 2020

Iran Brands US 'Pirates' Over Seized Venezuela-bound Oil

© Pak Agen /

Iran accused the United States on Friday of acting like the "Pirates of the Caribbean" after Washington said it had sold off Iranian crude oil shipments that it seized on their way to Venezuela.Washington said on Thursday it had sold 1.1 million barrels of previously seized Iranian oil that was bound for Venezuela, in the Trump administration's latest move to increase pressure on Tehran less than a week before the November 3 U.S. presidential election."The Pirates of the Caribbean openly boasting abt(about) their booty...

27 Oct 2020

Venezuelan Oil Transferred at New Ship-to-ship Spot in the Caribbean

© Andreas Karelias / Adobe Stock

Venezuela's state-run oil company PDVSA this week began using a new location near La Borracha island in the Caribbean sea for transferring Venezuelan crude from one ship to another for exports, according to tanker tracking data seen by Reuters.PDVSA, whose exports have been hit by U.S. sanctions, in late 2018 tested the spot near La Borracha, about 16 kilometers (10 miles) off the coastal city of Puerto la Cruz, but it had not used it until now, according to shipping sources.In recent weeks…

27 Oct 2020

US Issues Fresh Sanctions Targeting Iran's Oil Sector

© Vladimir / Adobe Stock

The United States on Monday imposed fresh Iran-related sanctions targeting the Islamic Republic's oil sector, including the Iranian Ministry of Petroleum, in Washington's latest move to increase pressure on Tehran.The U.S. Treasury Department in a statement said it was slapping sanctions on key actors in Iran's oil sector for supporting the Quds Force, the elite foreign paramilitary and espionage arm of the Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps."The regime in Iran uses the petroleum sector to fund the destabilizing activities of the IRGC-QF…

27 Oct 2020

FSO Nabarima Is 'Upright' but Crude Transfer Could Be Risky

The FSO Nabarima listing in the Gulf of Paria on October 16 (Photo: Fishermen and Friends of the Sea)

A Venezuelan floating oil facility that had been listing in recent weeks is upright and shows no sign of sinking, but plans to offload crude from the vessel posed some risks, the energy minister of neighboring Trinidad and Tobago said on Thursday.A team of experts from Trinidad inspected the Nabarima facility on Tuesday and found there was “absolutely no tilt” and that the vessel was “totally horizontal,” Energy Minister Franklyn Khan told reporters.“There is no imminent risk of tilting or sinking…

26 Oct 2020

Noncomprehensive Sanctions: Venezuela, Global Magnitsky, Hong Kong

© STOCKSTUDIO / Adobe Stock

This article will focus on “noncomprehensive sanctions,” which target “Specially Designated Nationals” (SDNs), but otherwise do not prohibit most trade between the U.S. and the target country (if any). While there are multiple noncomprehensive sanctions programs, we will focus on three: Venezuela (which can be thought of as quasi-comprehensive), Global Magnitsky (human rights) and Hong Kong. Russia also has a substantial noncomprehensive sanctions program, which we will address in a later article.NONCOMPREHENSIVE SANCTIONS PROGRAMS: IN GENERALThe U.S.

21 Oct 2020

Tanker Approaches Listing FSO Nabarima to Load Crude

The FSO Nabarima listing in the Gulf of Paria on October 16 (Photo: Fishermen and Friends of the Sea)

An oil tanker operated by Venezuelan state oil company Petroleos de Venezuela on Tuesday approached a floating oil facility where it is expected to receive crude via transfer at sea amid environmental concerns, Refinitiv Eikon data showed.Environmental groups have in the past two weeks expressed concern about a potential spill of the 1.3 million barrels of crude aboard the Nabarima oil facility - part of the Petrosucre joint venture between PDVSA and Italy's Eni SpA - after images…

20 Oct 2020

PDVSA Plans to Offload Oil from Tilting FSO Offshore Venezuela

The FSO Nabarima listing in the Gulf of Paria on October 16 (Photo: Fishermen and Friends of the Sea)

Venezuelan state oil company Petroleos de Venezuela (PDVSA) plans to offload crude from the Nabarima floating oil facility via ship-to-ship (STS) transfer amid environmental concerns, two people familiar with the matter said on Monday.The Nabarima, part of PDVSA’s Petrosucre joint venture with Italy’s Eni SpA in the Paria Gulf off Venezuela’s eastern coast, is laden with 1.3 million barrels of crude.Images last week showed it tilting on its side, raising worries about a possible oil spill.

15 Oct 2020

Comprehensive Sanctions: Iran, Syria and North Korea

© komi$ar / Adobe Stock

This article will focus on “comprehensive sanctions,” which prohibit most trade between the U.S. and the target country, with a particular focus on three countries currently targeted by comprehensive sanctions: Iran, Syria and North Korea. Similar jurisdictions which are subject to varying levels of comprehensive sanctions, including Cuba, the Crimea region (Russia/Ukraine) and Venezuela (which may be thought of as subject to “quasi-comprehensive” sanctions) will be dealt with an article later in this series.IranHistory of Iran sanctions: The first U.S.

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