Venezuela’s PDVSA authorizes first two oil cargoes to India after sanctions relief

By Marianna Parraga

HOUSTON (Reuters) -Venezuelan state oil company PDVSA has assigned loading windows this month to two vessels bound for India under crude spot deals with Italy’s ENI and U.S.-based Chevron <CVX.N>, an internal company document showed.

Indian refiners including Reliance Industries, Indian Oil Corp and HPCL-Mittal Energy (HMEL) have been looking for Venezuelan crude cargoes to buy since Washington eased oil sanctions on the South American country in October.

Some refiners have agreed to purchase deals with trading houses that had early access to Venezuelan oil between October and November, while others are set to buy from PDVSA’s joint venture partners.

The scheduled deliveries to India are the first authorized by PDVSA through oil majors’ Eni and Chevron in three years.

The two vessels to load for India are the Liberia-flagged supertanker C. Earnest, which arrived in Venezuelan waters on Wednesday chartered by Reliance, and the Malta-flagged supertanker Desimi, which has been waiting to load since last week, according to the document and ship tracking data.

Each can transport up to 2 million barrels of Venezuela’s prized heavy crude oil.

A separate crude cargo on the very large crude carrier Eucaly, sold by PDVSA to intermediary Hangzhou Energy, finished loading last week and could also set sail to India if a deal through a trading firm and an Indian refiner is confirmed. The cargo had initially been allocated for Malaysia, another document showed.

Venezuelan oil sales to India got suspended in 2020 when the U.S. imposed secondary sanctions on the nation. Reliance was PDVSA’s second largest individual customer prior to sanctions.

Taking cargoes from Venezuela largely depends on the buyers’ ability to charter tankers that agree to load at Venezuelan ports, where delays and quality issues are common, and their willingness to pay upfront, as demanded by PDVSA.

Venezuela’s oil exports to China, its primary destination for exports, averaged some 338,000 barrels per day (bpd) last month, while shipments to the United States averaged 144,000 bpd, according to the documents and data.

(Reporting by Marianna Parraga; editing by Gary McWilliams)