The Venezuelan authorities have resumed oil supplies to China, which previously took place unofficially due to US sanctions, Reuters reports.
Chinese state companies China National Petroleum Corp (CNPC) and PetroChina - long among PDVSA’s top customers - stopped loading crude and fuel at Venezuelan ports in August 2019 after Washington extended its sanctions on PDVSA to include any companies trading with the Venezuelan state firm.
The imposition of the sanctions was part of a push by the Trump administration to oust Venezuelan President Nicolas Maduro. Still, they failed to completely halt the South American nation’s oil exports or loosen Maduro’s grip on power.
PDVSA’s customers instead boosted shipments to Malaysia, where transfers of cargoes between vessels at sea have allowed most of Venezuela’s crude to continue flowing to China after changing hands and using trade intermediaries.
The first tanker to resume transport of Venezuelan crude directly to China was the Kyoto, identified by shipping monitoring service TankerTrackers.com while loading 1.8 million barrels of heavy crude at Venezuela’s Jose port in late August.
At least one other tanker, the Warrior King, is discharging Venezuelan crude at China’s Bayuquan port, while two PetroChina-owned vessels loaded oil in Venezuela this month.