Despite US sanctions on Venezuela’s oil sector, a report reveals how millions of barrels of Venezuelan crude have arrived in China.
In a report, the Bloomberg agency has indicated that it has access to invoices and emails that show how far some traders go to disguise the origin of Venezuelan crude, in order to avoid US sanctions and take it to Asia, where it is in demand by refineries in China.
According to the US outlet specializing in market and finance, actions to avoid detection of ships at sea and illegal and unilateral US blockade include ship-to-ship transfers, shell companies, and silenced satellite signals.
The report also mentions other modalities, such as mixing chemical additives to the contents of the oil barrels and changing their name in the documentation so that they can be sold as a completely different product without leaving a trace of its origin.
Bloomberg adds that all these steps to disguise the origin of the crude are due to the possible prohibitions of Washington to ban the buyers of Venezuelan oil from doing business with North American companies.
In a specific case, the publication refers to how the heavy crude loaded from Venezuela, of the name Hamaca, is transferred to another vessel and treated with chemical additives off the coast of Singapore, to be released as Singma Blend (Singapore Malaysia Blend), although chemically the two products are almost the same. “Doping” the contents of the barrels with these chemical additives allows changing the name of the cargo in the documents without having to mention the origin.
The text explains that a Swiss-based company, Swissoil Trading SA, made the transactions observed by the agency, on behalf of the Mexican Libre Abordo SA. Both companies are sanctioned by the US.
Washington sanctioned the state-owned company Petróleos de Venezuela (PDVSA) in January 2019, and since then has sanctioned all the companies and organizations that have done business with the Venezuelan oil sector, in an attempt to suffocate the Venezuelan economy with the assumption that President Maduro could be ousted that way.
On Wednesday, January 20, the last day of the mandate of the US administration presided by Donald Trump, the latter imposed a series of sanctions against individuals and companies related to this key sector of the economy of the South American country.
With the inauguration in the US of Democrat Joe Biden, Venezuelan oil exports may experience a limited reactivation, says Diego Moya-Ocampos, a political risk consultant at IHS Markit in London, quoted by Bloomberg.
Although Venezuela is an oil country, the US sanctions have prevented Caracas from being able to meet the domestic demand for gasoline and diesel, so Iran, within the framework of an alliance with the Bolivarian Republic, has sent several ships loaded with barrels of gasoline and oil additives to the besieged nation.
Featured image: Oil barrels painted the color of the Venezuelan flag.