Venezuela oil tanker

Mercantile & Maritime to Comply with US Sanctions against Rosneft Trading

Singapore-based tanker owner Mercantile & Maritime is planning to end its shipping of Venezuelan oil for Rosneft in line with the sanctions imposed by the United States against the Russian oil giant’s Geneva-based trading arm Rosneft Trading S.A.

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With a fleet of nine tankers, Mercantile & Maritime was one of the largest shippers for Rosneft Trading over the past year, according to a report from Reuters.

Rosneft Trading S.A., a trading company in January 2011, was marketing Venezuelan crude over the last nine months with oil supplied in return for loan repayments. The oil is believed to had been further shipped to China and India.

“Following these sanctions, we have reviewed our live arrangements and will implement any necessary measures required to ensure we comply with international requirements in line with the wind-down timeline set by the OFAC general license,” the company said in a statement.

“We will continue to monitor developments to ensure we remain compliant going forward.”

OFAC gave companies 90 days to wind down transactions involving Rosneft Trading S.A.

The blacklisting comes on the back of the U.S. imposed sanctions on PdVSA as part of the pressure on the government of Venezuelan president Nicolás Maduro.

With these measures, the Trump administration wants to bring the Venezuelan oil industry, one of the main income sources of the Maduro regime, to its knees.

After U.S. sanctions were tightened in early 2019, Venezuelan exports fell from 1,250 Kb/d in January to about 500 Kb/d in October, data from Poten and Partners shows.

However, in the last few months of 2019, and into 2020, Venezuelan crude oil exports staged something of a recovery, increasing to about 1 Mb/d, primarily on the back of increased movements to India, according to Poten’s data.

Key buyers of Venezuelan crude in India are Reliance and Nayara Energy (formerly Essar Oil, since 2017 owned by Rosneft and a group of investors).

“Both companies are assessing the impact of the U.S. sanctions on Rosneft to determine if they need to change their purchases from Venezuela to remain in compliance with U.S. sanctions and policy guidelines. Combined, the two companies import about 300-350,000 b/d of heavy sour crude from Venezuela. Losing these customers would be a severe blow to PDVSA,” Poten said in its weekly opinion on the tanker market.

World Maritime News Staff