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PDVSA ships 2m barrels of oil to client in Venezuela-owned tanker: sources, data
[CARACAS] A Venezuela-owned tanker loaded with about two million barrels of oil has set sail in its first international voyage since the United States imposed sanctions on state-run PDVSA, according to two sources and Refinitiv Eikon data.
PDVSA this year began offering to ship its own crude, including figuring in the costs, in supply deals to help customers that have struggled to hire vessels to carry the country's oil because of sanctions, documents seen by Reuters showed.
Washington recently blacklisted vessel owners and shipping operators and threatened to sanction any tanker facilitating Venezuela's oil exports as it tightens restrictions on trade with the South American country.
The Russia-flagged very large crude carrier (VLCC) Maximo Gorki departed from the anchorage area of PDVSA's Jose terminal with estimated arrival in mid-October, according to the tanker tracking data.
It was the first time that PDVSA had shipped crude to a customer in a Venezuelan-owned vessel since sanctions were imposed upon it at the start of last year - aside from shipments to fuel-trapped Cuba, its Socialist ally.
Even though the tanker is signalling Singapore as its destination, one of the sources said its final port will be Fujairah in the United Arab Emirates.
PDVSA did not reply to a request for comment.
The Venezuelan firm had been readying the vessel for receiving maintenance in Asia, so it is taking the opportunity for the crude to be transported as well.
Several vessels owned by PDVSA and its subsidiaries have been the subject of seizures and retention measures in foreign waters in recent years as a consequence of unpaid debt to shipyards, ports and shipping companies.
From 2019 through early 2020, PDVSA rescued its vessels Arita and Parnaso from legal arrest after paying pending debts.
It also received back about a dozen tankers that were managed by Germany's Bernhard Schulte Shipmanagement (BSM).
To protect the cargo from seizure, PDVSA signed two separate agreements with the buyer, one for selling the crude and another as freight contract, the source added. By structuring the deal this way, the crude is owned by the customer from the moment it leaves the Venezuelan port, even though it is transported in a Venezuela-owned ship, the source said.