Venezuela oil exports accelerate, India awaits cargoes

Venezuela kicked off the new year with at least 730,000 b/d of crude exports, led by several India-bound cargoes, according to local and international shipping data obtained by Argus.

In the first half of January, a half dozen tankers loaded at state-owned PdV’s Jose terminal, most recently the Maltese-flagged VLCC Lucky Trader carrying heavy sour Merey blend due to arrive at Indian Reliance’s 1.36mn b/d Jamnagar refinery on 19 February. The cargo came from the PetroMonagas joint venture between Venezuela’s state-owned PdV and Russian state-controlled partner Rosneft.

At least two more VLCCs are heading to the subcontinent from Jose, including the Liberian-flagged Boston carrying diluted Orinoco crude (DCO) lifted by Italy’s Eni and due at India’s Sikka terminal for Reliance on 8 February, and the Greek-flagged Maran Libra carrying Merey lifted by Rosneft and due in India on 21 February.

Rosneft lifted another 3.9mn bl of Merey aboard the Maran Triton and Maran Cygnus since 1 January. The Russian firm routinely ships Venezuelan cargoes to its 400,000 b/d Vadinar refinery in India, and books the supply as debt payments from PdV.

The outlier in the Venezuelan export roster so far this month is Great Lady, which is currently anchored off Aruba for a likely transshipment of 26°API Hamaca synthetic crude lifted by Chevron. The cargo came from Chevron’s PetroPiar joint venture with PdV, which recently resumed its original upgrading function after a blending stint in 2019.

US refiners are not permitted to process Venezuelan crude under the terms of sanctions, which are aimed at overturning the government of President Nicolas Maduro. The US Treasury is likely to renew Chevron’s sanctions waiver to operate in Venezuela when it expires next week, as opposition leader Juan Guaido sustains his fragile political campaign to install a transition government.