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Russia’s Rosneft has canceled VLCC cargoes scheduled to carry 5.7 million barrels of Venezuelan oil because of U.S. sanctions, Reuters reports, citing data from PdVSA, and shipping data from Refinitiv Eikon.
The cargoes, according to the data, would have been delivered to Asia.
Earlier this year, Washington announced sanctions on Rosneft’s Swiss-based trading arm as part of its attempts to cut off all revenue streams to the Maduro government in Caracas. The U.S. has signaled it is ready to continue to tighten the noose around the Venezuelan government.
Separately, Rosneft announced a surprise move: it will be pulling out of Venezuela, selling its assets there to a state-owned Russian company.
“Today Rosneft concluded an agreement with the company 100% owned by the Government of Russian Federation, to sell all of its interest and cease participation in its Venezuelan businesses, including joint ventures of Petromonagas, Petroperija, Boqueron, Petromiranda and Petrovictoria, as well as oil-field services companies, commercial and trading operations,” the state giant said in a press release on Saturday.
The move appears to serve a way to shield Rosneft from U.S. punitive actions related to the enforcement of sanctions, and according to the Venezuelan president, a sign of the continued support for his government on the part of Moscow.
Right now, Russia is not the only voice in support of Venezuela. The coronavirus has hit hard the South American country, and there have been calls from politicians in the United States and abroad for Washington to ease the sanctions.
“It’s absolutely unconscionable to keep sanctions on at this moment,” the AP quoted Jeffrey Sachs, director of the Center for Sustainable Development at Columbia University, as saying.
“The only moral, sane and legal thing to do is stop the madness that is crippling other countries’ health systems.”
By Irina Slav for Oilprice.com
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Irina is a writer for Oilprice.com with over a decade of experience writing on the oil and gas industry.