The “black gold” is turning into a “buck”: Companies fear that Venezuela will take crude oil for fear of being persecuted by the US authorities because of possible sanctions violations. According to industry data, at least 16 oil tankers are currently cruising around the world in search of a buyer – some of them for half a year. 18.1 million barrels (barrel of 159 liters) of oil are stored in their bellies. This corresponds approximately to the Venezuelan production volume of two months.
This raw material is usually only loaded when the destination has already been determined. Loads without a customer are considered an emergency sale and are usually offered at a clear discount, because time is money here in the truest sense of the word. The mooring fees for an oil tanker alone are at least $ 30,000 a day.
Origin should be veiled
He has been trying unsuccessfully to find buyers for a load since January, says a manager of a dealer registered with the Venezuelan state-owned oil company PDVSA. Mooring fees for the tanker had already been accumulated for 120 days. According to data from the provider Refinitiv, six ships of the Eurotankers shipping company have been waiting for their unloading in Malaysia for months. The company could not be reached for a comment.
MT Kelly, who is flying the Panamanian flag, has already had an odyssey: According to PDSVA documents, she set sail for Turkey in April. No sooner had she arrived in the Mediterranean than she turned and drove back through the Strait of Gibraltar back to the Atlantic. There she turned south and drove along the African coast.
Other tankers are on their way to Malaysia, Singapore, Indonesia or Togo with Venezuelan oil. Ships are occasionally transhipped on the high seas to disguise the origin of the oil. Refinitively, the tankers in question are still filled to the brim, but some have switched off the transponders with which their position can be tracked.
Fear of sanctions
Venezuela has had a power struggle between President Nicolas Maduro and the opposition for years. The United States and most Western countries recognize self-appointed transition president Juan Guaido as a legitimate head of state. In this context, the government of US President Donald Trump has imposed sanctions on the troubled South American country to make Maduro give up.
Venezuela is allowed to sell crude oil for certain purposes, for example to pay for food or service debts. However, many customers shy away from such deals because they fear that the United States will blacklist them for violating sanctions. Shipping companies are also becoming more careful. Since the end of May, at least six oil tankers, which were supposed to take up oil in Venezuela, have turned off unsuccessful things.
The coronavirus pandemic and the slump in global demand are exacerbating the difficulties of finding Venezuelan oil customers. The oversupply dampens buyers’ appetite for risky deliveries from Venezuela or Iran. The United States has also imposed sanctions on this country. (SDA)