Dec 2 (Reuters) - Venezuela's oil exports almost doubled in
November from the previous month as new customers linked to a
Russian trading firm stepped in to boost purchases from
state-run PDVSA amid U.S. sanctions, according to data from the
firm and Refinitiv Eikon.
In October, PDVSA's established customers suspended swaps of
Venezuelan crude for fuel at Washington's request, leading to a
sharp decline in exports, but in November a growing group of new
buyers stepped in to bring Venezuela's exports back to around
the average level for this year, the data showed.
A total of 24 cargoes left Venezuelan waters last month
carrying some 639,000 barrels per day (bpd) of crude and refined
products, according to the data, an increase from the 360,000
bpd exported in October.
Their main destination was Asia, where trans-shipment of
Venezuelan crude between tankers at sea frequently occurs before
the oil reaches its final destination, principally China.
More than half of Venezuela's exports in November were
received by new buyers including Xiamen Logistic Grass, Olympia
Stly Trading, Zaguhan & Co, Karaznbas, Kalinin Business
International and Poseidon GDL Solutions, the data revealed.
These customers were registered in Russia this year by
Moscow-based OGX Trading.
Most vessels chartered by these companies navigated to
Venezuela with their transponders disconnected, a technique
known as a "dark voyage". They have switched their signal on
again after departing, the Eikon data showed.
A handful of them were also misidentified by PDVSA using the
names of scrapped tankers, according to its loading schedules.
PDVSA and Venezuela's oil ministry did not immediately reply
to requests for comment. OGX Trading told Reuters in late
October the company had been unable to start business due to the
Click here for a graphic on Venezuela's monthly oil exports
during 2020: https://graphics.reuters.com/VENEZUELA-OIL/EXPORTS/xegpbqdzjvq/
The November exports also included two large cargoes of
heavy crude taken by a firm called Cirrostrati Technology Co LTD
onboard two tankers owned by state-run PetroChina.
Meanwhile, exports to Cuba - a close ally of Venezuela -
declined to 47,300 bpd, from 104,000 bpd in October.
As oil exports in November returned to this year's average
of around 650,000 bpd, Venezuela's fuel imports declined sharply
to 21,000 bpd after two diesel cargoes were delivered by India's
Reliance Industries to PDVSA before winding down its
trade with Venezuela.
Imports by the gasoline-thirsty nation were 100,500 bpd in
(Reporting by Marianna Parraga in Mexico City and Mircely
Guanipa in Maracay, Venezuela
Editing by Marguerita Choy)