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Just one day after the United States slapped sanctions on Rosneft’s subsidiary Rosneft Trading, oil trader Trafigura has announced that it will disentangle itself from the sanctioned company by mid-May to avoid running afoul of US sanctions itself, the company told TASS on Wednesday.
"Trafigura is aware of the addition by the US authorities of certain Rosneft entities to the Venezuela related designations and the associated general license. Trafigura complies with all applicable sanctions and will comply with the requirements of these latest rules within the wind-down timeline that has been set by the general license," a Trafigura spokesman said.
Trafigura is unlikely to be the only company leery of doing business with Rosneft Trading, and more pain may be in store for the company that stands accused of allowing Venezuela’s oil trade continue despite the United States’ ongoing maximum pressure campaign designed to force Nicolas Maduro to step down. Rosneft Trading’s support of PDVSA and Maduro is, according to the United States, part of the reason that Maduro has been able to cling to power for so long.
Tuesday’s sanctions block all US assets of Rosneft Trading, and extend to anyone doing business with Rosneft Trading, but do allow for a 90-day wind down period for companies currently doing business with Rosneft Trading.
The United States was considering sanctions on Rosneft back in September, after July and August showed Rosneft to be the largest marketer and buyer of Venezuelan oil, which it then sold onto China and India, helping them to avoid sanctions.
In June last year, Rosneft Trading was responsible for shipping 100% of all the gasoline that Venezuela imported that month through ship-to-ship transfers totaling 1.7 million barrels. And in July, according to Refinitiv Eikon data, Rosneft Trading took 40% of PDVSA’s oil exports, while Vitol and Trafigura had stopped handling Venezuelan crude.
By Julianne Geiger for Oilprice.com
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Julianne Geiger is a veteran editor, writer and researcher for Oilprice.com, and a member of the Creative Professionals Networking Group.