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PDVSA Snubs Crude Sanctions With Condensate Imports

PDVSA is offloading more than a half a million barrels per day of condensate that it has imported in order to blend with its extra heavy crude oil, according to PDVSA documents that Reuters has seen.

The condensate—which Venezuela needs in order to move its heavy crude oil—arrived on Wednesday. But importing condensate and exporting the resulting upgraded crude oil are currently sanctionable actions by the United States.

Panamanian-flagged Rene is the vessel that brought the condensate cargo in, operated by shipping firm Issa Shipping Fze—based in Fujairah.

Shipping documents show the condensate originated in Sri Lanka. Sri Lanka does not produce condensate.

Those shipping documents also show that the Rene is scheduled to be loaded with PDVSA-derived heavy crude for exporting.

Issa Shipping, based in close U.S. ally UAE, is responsible for exporting or planning to export other PDVSA crude oil cargos as well, putting the UAE at the top of the list of countries aiding Venezuela with sanctionable activity.

China Concord Petroleum Co., Limited, or CCPC, is another company that has been more than willing to help transfer crude oil out of Venezuela—and Iran—in defiance of U.S. sanctions.

China is one of the top destinations for what little Venezuelan crude oil makes it out of the country despite the sanctions. Nevertheless, the United States has not interfered with these transfers of crude oil.

Venezuela said last month that it will invest in recovering its crude oil production with the aim of increasing its output by four times by the end of the year to 1.5 million bpd—a feat that would be miraculous and would help to alleviate the critical fuel shortage that is present in the country.

By Julianne Geiger for Oilprice.com

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