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India's Ingenious Way Around U.S. Oil Sanctions 

Indian Nyara Energy has been buying Venezuelan crude oil from Rosneft and paying in fuel instead of cash to avoid a breach of U.S. sanctions against Caracas, Reuters reports, citing three unnamed sources claiming familiarity with the matter.

Nyara, which is an affiliate of Rosneft, delivered gasoil and gasoline to the Russian state giant, the sources also said.

Barter payments have emerged as the way to avoid sanction penalties as the sanctions only focus on cash, it appears. That is why Rosneft has not yet been sanctioned despite its continued partnership with PDVSA. As Reuters recalls, the latest round of sanctions that extends to non-U.S. business entities stated that oil as payment for loans was acceptable since it did not involve cash that would reach the Venezuelan government.

Exporting crude oil and getting refined products in return is another tactic Venezuela has been using since the United States began sanctioning it. This way, cash is not part of the transaction, but Caracas received fuel that it needs as local refineries struggle to operate at any meaningful rate following years of neglect and underinvestment, as well as the halt of diluent imports from the U.S. amid the sanction conflict.

Related: Is The U.S. Gas Boom Already Over?

Nyara Energy is not the only Indian company buying Venezuela oil from Rosneft. Heavyweight Reliance has also been importing Venezuelan crude from the Russian company after it announced a few months ago that it would suspend all direct dealings with PDVSA to please Washington. Now, however, Reliance has said it plans to restart direct purchases of Venezuelan crude from PDVSA. The way around the sanctions? Fuels for crude.

The continued, albeit indirect, crude exports to Indian companies seem to have helped PDVSA bring down inventories of crude that last month prompted a suspension in two blending facilities. Now, these have been restarted, too, and are producing crude for export once again.

By Irina Slav for Oilprice.com

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  • Mamdouh Salameh on October 16 2019 said:
    The late Deng Xiaoping, China’s great inspiring leader once was quoted saying: ”It doesn’t matter what colour a cat is as long as it kills mice”.

    For Venezuela, it doesn’t matter whether it is selling its crude oil and getting paid by barter trade, rupees, or roubles as long as it is successfully evading US sanctions against it.

    This is exactly what Indian Nyara Energy has been doing by buying Venezuelan crude from Russian oil giant Rosneft and paying for it in gasoline and gasoil which Venezuela badly needs.

    China and India never stopped even for one minute importing Venezuelan crude oil in defiance of US sanctions and Russia never stopped selling Venezuelan oil and paying the proceeds to the government of Venezuela.

    It is becoming increasingly obvious that US sanctions against both Iran and Venezuela have failed miserably.

    Dr Mamdouh G Salameh
    International Oil Economist
    Visiting Professor of Energy Economics at ESCP Europe Business School, London

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